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Chelsea agree personal terms with £70m ‘phenomenal talent’ after Kounde blow – report

Chelsea have agreed personal terms with defender Wesley Fofana, but still need to convince Leicester City over a transfer, journalist Ignazio Genuardi claims.

The Blues lost the services of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers this summer, and they are keen on replacing them with three top central defenders.

They have already signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli to bolster the heart of the defence, but are still in the transfer market for two more centre-backs before the deadline.

According to Genuardi, the Blues have an agreement in place with Fofana after missing out on Jules Kounde. However, they still need to persuade the Foxes to sanction his exit.

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Chelsea’s four alternative transfer options if Barcelona sign Jules Kounde

Chelsea have found themselves locked in yet another transfer battle with Barcelona after tabling an offer for Jules Kounde. The Blues have already missed out on one of their targets this summer, with Raphinha snubbing the Premier League side to complete his dream switch to the Camp Nou.

But Thomas Tuchel is determined not to let another target slip from his grasp after the club made an enticing £55million offer to Sevilla for Kounde. It is understood that the fee is beyond what Barca can afford after spending over £105m on Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski.

However, the Blaugrana remain in the race to sign the France international, who has already agreed personal terms on a five-year deal with Chelsea. It all hinges now on whether Sevilla will push through the deal in time before Barca come back with another bid. But if the west London side do miss out on Kounde, there are other transfer options available for Tuchel to explore.

Josko Gvardiol

The RB Leipzig defender has emerged as a possible alternative if Tuchel fails to land top target Kounde this summer. The 20-year-old, already a full Croatia international with 17 caps, has played at the highest level at Euro 2020, as well as featuring regularly for Leipzig in the Bundesliga and Champions League.

While he is a left-footed defender, there is a theory that Gvardiol could take up the left-sided centre-back role and allow Kalidou Koulibaly — a £34m signing from Napoli — to move into the centre of Tuchel’s back three.

However, Leipzig are adamant their talented defender will not be leaving, nor has Gvardiol made clear his intention to push for a transfer. And it seems Chelsea may have to stump up a fee of around £60m just to get the conversation started.

Dayot Upamecano

With speed, power and confidence on the ball, Upamecano is tailor-made for the Premier League. He would have no problems in fitting into Tuchel’s defence alongside Thiago Silva and Koulibaly and at 23 has his whole career ahead of him.

Chelsea have been linked with Upamecano in the past before he moved to Bayern Munich from RB Leipzig. But the signing of Matthijs de Ligt has put his position under question. Such a deal would prove expensive and Bayern would be looking for a fee similar to what they paid for De Ligt, who signed for around £68m from Juventus.

Whether or not Todd Boehly would be willing to spend such an amount after already spending £80m on Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling remains to be seen.

Benjamin Pavard

And then there is also Pavard, Upamecano’s club and international team-mate who may relish the chance for a new challenge in the Premier League, after spending his entire senior career in Germany.

The 26-year-old has earned a reputation for being a solid right-back for the Bavarian giants. But the Frenchman recently revealed he is keen to try his hand in a more central role.

And being signed as a right-sided centre-back may suit him perfectly as he handles the transition from one position to the other. Tuchel may also appreciate his versatility as he can play several roles across the backline, and with his contract expiring in 2024, he may be the most realistic option of the quartet to sign.

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Jules Kounde drops curious Chelsea Instagram transfer hint amid Barcelona ‘hijack’ talks

Could this Jules Kounde transfer saga really be turning into Raphinha part two?

Initial indications are yes as Chelsea are stuck, waiting for the green light from Sevilla and Kounde himself before a medical in London can be scheduled ahead of joining up with Thomas Tuchel and the squad on the US pre-season tour.

From Barca’s side, despite initial scepticism of being able to match the Blues’ strong financial package that has been presented to Sevilla, there is a belief that they could potentially hijack this deal at the eleventh hour after securing another financial deal to release some funds.

Reports in Seville indicate that a lot of this Barca talk is hot air and that once documentation is presented by Chelsea, things will speed up to a conclusion on a transfer saga which has certainly dragged on majorly since last summer.

Even Thomas Tuchel himself, despite not directly commenting on Kounde, clearly wants this deal finalised as he aims for a minimum of at least ‘one’ more defensive signing after the 23-year-old is secured.

“We are looking of course for guys that can play on the left side,” he said. “Toni (Rudiger) played on the left side and was not left footed. Maybe Kalidou can also play there because he plays in a back four on the left side. Let’s see what’s possible,” he said in Orlando.

“It is not only about bringing in players for numbers, we also need quality, so we will make some decisions late not only about players but also about systems. Ideally, we would have a left-footer.”

Whilst the wait goes on for more clarity over Sevilla’s No.23, the player himself, as well as posting some images of himself at the most recent Paris fashion show, has dropped a social media hint on his Instagram account @jkeey4 about “achieving your dreams”.

Of course, it should be noted that Barcelona are his reported ‘dream’ destination. Although last summer, it was revealed that a Premier League move was his ideal next step.

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Barcelona drop ‘bomb’ on Chelsea as they have last-ditch £55m bid accepted for Kounde

Chelsea could end up losing out on a deal to sign Jules Kounde from Sevilla after Barcelona have a last-ditch bid accepted, according to reports.

Fabrizio Romano claimed on Friday that the Blues had “sent paperworks” to Sevilla as they push “to get it over the line” with a £55m deal agreed, although the transfer was “still waiting for Sevilla’s final approval to avoid new attempts from Barcelona”.

Reports in Spain yesterday ‘almost ruled out’ Barcelona staging a late effort to sign Kounde this summer after the Catalan giants had ‘practically given up’.

But Spanish journalist Gerard Moreno has brought potentially disastrous news for Chelsea on Saturday morning with claims that Barcelona have dropped a ‘bomb’ on the Blues.

He claimed on his Jijantes FC Twitch channel (via The Metro) that Barcelona have reached an agreement in principal over a potential transfer for Kounde.

Despite Sevilla doubting Barcelona could get near their £55m valuation of the centre-back, the La Liga side have pulled another financial ‘lever’ to reach an agreement.

Apparently France team-mate Ousmane Dembele has played a key role in persuading Kounde to sign for Barcelona with Moreno insisting that they have now won the race.

Chelsea are currently looking for at least one more centre-back after getting a deal for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly over the line earlier this month.

And Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is keen not to lose any more of his defence this summer after Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen left on free transfers.

Cesar Azpilicueta has been repeatedly linked to Barcelona, with the Spaniard keen on a move, but Tuchel wants to keep the full-back at Stamford Bridge.

“I’m not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants,” Tuchel said yesterday. “At some point, it’s also about us. We’ve made the comparison with how much we fought for Koulibaly, a national team player, similar age to Azpi, a hugely important player, and captain for Napoli.

“We have a Spanish international player, captain of Chelsea, and I see them maybe at the same level. Barcelona does not see it at the same level so I’m not sure that I want to give Azpi what he wants.

“We don’t think so much about other clubs. The focus is on us and what we need. I said that to him and I say it to you that I understand on a personal and a career level. But I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what’s best for Chelsea.”

Tuchel added: “It’s maybe now a bit tough because the other club is permanently on him. This causes distraction. But latest, on the first of September, when things come down and things are clear, I am very convinced he can play at his highest level.”

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Chelsea ‘close’ to agreeing transfer and Tottenham man attracting interest

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are both busy preparing for the start of the new Premier League season.

The Blues are currently away in America as they look to get back up to speed under Thomas Tuchel.

Spurs are back in action tomorrow away at Rangers at Ibrox.

Kounde update

Chelsea are reportedly working on a deal to sign defender Jules Kounde from Sevilla.

The centre-back is also apparently wanted by Barcelona.

The Guardian report the Blues are ‘close’ to agreeing a fee in the region of £55million for his services.

Player outgoing

Henry Lawrence has temporarily left Stamford Bridge to join MK Dons on loan.

The right-back spent the past campaign with AFC Wimbledon and has now joined their bitter rivals.

He played 32 times last year as the Dons were relegated to League Two.

 

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Chelsea set to secure third summer signing with £55m deal – report

Chelsea are set to sign Jules Kounde in a £55m deal from Sevilla provided the France international passes a medical at the London side, according to a report in England.
The Sun is reporting that the Blues are on the cusp of securing their third major signing of the summer transfer window following the arrivals of Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling earlier this month.

The same article states that the south west London side have finally reached an agreement with Sevilla over Kounde’s transfer fee after first showing an interest in the French defender last summer.

According to the same story, the 23-year-old has already spoken to Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel about his proposed switch to Stamford Bridge from the La Liga side.

The report goes on to state that Kounde preferred the idea of a move to Chelsea rather than FC Barcelona despite the Spanish side’s apparent eagerness to sign the centre-half.

The Sun quote their sources that suggest the deal is 99 per cent complete but Kounde needs to pass a medical with the FA Cup finalists before the transfer can go officially through.

The newspaper claim that the France international could even link up with his new team-mates in the USA on the final days of their pre-season tour.

Kounde, who has scored nine goals in 133 games for Sevilla, would link up with Koulibaly at the heart of the Chelsea defence if the transfer is completed.

The defender joined Sevilla from Bordeaux in 2019 and helped the Spanish side to win the Europa League in his first season at the club. He also tasted Uefa Nations League glory with France in 2020-21.

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Chelsea told next two signings after Jules Kounde transfer as duo singled out

Former Arsenal midfielder Stuart Robson has told Chelsea where they need to turn their attention to next after completing the signing of Jules Kounde from Sevilla. Thomas Tuchel’s side are moving closer to completing a deal for the French defender, who could become the Blues’ third summer signing after Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.

If Chelsea get Kounde over the line they will have brought in two defenders this summer to replace Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, and Robson has highlighted two areas they should look to improve next.

“I think they will want a top-quality midfield player,” Robson told ESPN. “I am not a great fan of Jorginho, he can keep hold of the ball but defensively I think he is poor and I would like to see somebody that is a much better defensive player because [N’Golo] Kante now plays that little bit further forward and not as the holding midfielder. That’s the position that I think Chelsea can improve in. They need a centre-forward as well. They need a bit of everything.”

Jorginho and Kante were two players singled out by Robson as he claimed that neither will anchor the Chelsea midfield in a way that he believes is good enough to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool due to role or quality, but he does believe that Kounde will improve the defence.

“Kounde, he is a player that can come in and make their defence better,” Robson added. “Because Christensen had some good games but I don’t think was an outstanding player. Losing Rudiger I think is a big blow for them. What do I think they need? Is Sterling the right sort of signing? It is another wide player, they have got a lot of wide players that can all do similar sort of things.”

Sterling joins Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner as wide options at Stamford Bridge and while Robson believes a striker should be a priority for Chelsea, boss Tuchel has claimed otherwise. “I would not rule it out [signing another striker] but right now it is not the priority,” Tuchel told Sky Sports News. “The priority right now is defence, it’s not a secret. From there we need to see what’s possible.”

Cristiano Ronaldo had been linked with a move from Premier League rivals Manchester United as the Portuguese forward hopes to play Champions League football next season, while there have been few rumours linking Chelsea with another midfielder.

Conor Gallagher has returned from a successful loan at Crystal Palace last season and Tuchel has tipped the England international to be a “big asset” to the club.

“He trains at a very high level and we can clearly see that it was the right decision to let him go on loan,” Tuchel said. “Now it is important that he gets used to our principles of the game, to understand when to move when not to move, but his work rate is outstanding and this can be a big asset for us.”

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Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui decision hints at Jules Kounde’s Chelsea transfer being ‘done deal’

Jules Kounde looks like he may be finally set to seal a move to Chelsea with his time at Sevilla coming to a close.

The 23-year-old is finally set to get his long-awaited new challenge as the Blues finally decide to reignite their interest in the Frenchman as Presnel Kimpembe negotiations draw on. football.londonunderstands that talks on Wednesday are expected to further advance as a £50million fee could be settled upon between the two parties with personal terms done a long-time ago.

Although Barcelona are still in the running, the expectation is that the Catalan giants may not be able to get a deal done in time to beat Chelsea to his signature.

So, it’s now full steam ahead for Kounde to Chelsea with Sevilla reportedly setting Thursday as the final deadline for a move as the Spanish club want a resolution before they board the plane to Portugal for their pre-season schedule.

And Julen Lopetegui has done something revealing that hints at movement on the deal for Sevilla’s No.23. This is because as per @InfoSevillismo, Lopetegui told local media: “Kounde arrived at the Ciudad Deportiva of Sevilla FC on Wednesday morning but has not trained with his teammates. Departure is imminent.”

In the unlikely case that negotiations were to breakdown for either of Kounde or Kimpembe, the Evening Standard have reported that RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol will be pursued actively by Todd Boehly as he looks to fulfil Tuchel’s plans for three new defenders with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen already leaving, and Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta expected to follow.

“I have a figure I think we need a couple more players in to improve the squad,” Tuchel said on the transfer situation. “We were third last season.

“We cannot discuss the reason forever but there was a gap between us Manchester City and Liverpool. I think in general if you want to keep your position if you want to fight for the same position you need to improve you cannot stand still.

“If you stand still other teams will overtake you. Given the position that we even lost players its common sense that we need to bring new quality to the team to maintain our level. Not even speaking about improving our level, so this is the situation where we are right now.

“It’s the dream of any manager that you find players in your own league, that can adapt very quickly. But it’s an individual process. Of course, we see that Raheem knows many players from the national team and he is very familiar with the habits in English clubs. This is nice to see.

“For Kalidou, it’s a big help we have some French guys, that we have Edou (Mendy), his teammate from the national team, and Jorgi who is a big help from Napoli. It makes the process of integration faster because this is huge and both of them should be huge players for us. This is why we need to speed things up.”

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Jules Kounde’s revealing interview could match Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea dream transfer profile

Chelsea are set to step up their interest in long-term target Jules Kounde – who, earlier this year, gave an interview that could match Thomas Tuchel’s ideal profile for a player.

“We have clear ideas for the profiles and characteristics of these players,” Thomas Tuchel said when speaking about Chelsea’s plans for the 2022 summer transfer window back in May. “It is not like you put a name on the list, and then you get a player.

“You have to convince the player, you have to speak to other clubs and convince yourself this is the player, so there is normally a lot of work. It will be the same to be competitive next season, while, like everybody else, tries to close the gap to us, while the top two teams are what they are. A benchmark of consistency.”

While Tuchel didn’t specify the sort of “characteristics” he was after in new signings, it wouldn’t be stupid to assume that a player with confidence in his own ability matches the aforementioned profile. There’s a fine line in football between straight-up arrogance and having confidence in your own ability.

Footballers, nowadays especially, have to be very head-strong. They are constantly in the spotlight, and the rise of social media in the 21st century has added to that. Any below-par performance can be ridiculed. The long-term picture tends to go amiss sometimes among football supporters.

So, when Jules Kounde of Sevilla and France was sent off in his country’s clash with Bosnia and Herzegovina last year, the defender came under fire. The 23-year-old, though, who is a big target for Chelsea this summer, never doubted his own abilities.

“It makes people wonder, of course, but there is no doubt about my ability to impose myself in this group,” Kounde said in an interview with AFP via Look Charms. “I have confidence in my qualities, the work that I put in every day to be there.

“The coach trusted me a lot, selecting me for the Euro already and putting me in a position that was not mine. I tried to do my best. I always said that I preferred to be on the ground rather than on the bench.

“Now I am at my past, so obviously more is expected of me. But that’s not a problem for me, I’m judged on what I can do. When things go well, so much the better, but when things go wrong, criticism is completely normal.”

Chelsea first tried to sign Kounde in the summer of 2021 and came very close to wrapping a deal up. However, Sevilla, at the last minute, upped their asking price and their actions put the Blues off.

There was always a feeling that Chelsea would come back in for Kounde, especially with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leaving. So they did, and the west Londoners verbally agreed personal terms with the France international earlier in the summer.

Now, football.london understands that Chelsea are expected to submit an official offer to Sevilla for Kounde as early as this week. The Blues are also trying to sign his France team-mate, Presnel Kimpembe, and are preparing a bid for his services.

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The difference between Raphinha and Jules Kounde situations is ‘giving Chelsea confidence’

Chelsea are gaining confidence in securing a deal to sign Jules Kounde from Sevilla, with some big developments in negotiations yesterday.

Nothing is done or agreed yet in terms of a fee with Sevilla, but some good progression was made yesterday and multiple sources have reported that The Blues are now closing in on a deal to sign the French international defender.

There is still a slight risk that Barcelona could make a move in the final hours, having shown an interest, but as of now, it is Chelsea in the lead and they are confident of getting it done.

As per the reliable insider Ben Jacobs as well, Chelsea have agreed personal terms with Kounde already, which as he explains, is the difference between this and the Raphinha situation, the fact that Kounde has actually already agreed to join Chelsea and is happy to do so.

Just a case of getting this one over the line now for Chelsea.