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Chelsea are in ‘active negotiations’ to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde as they look to finalise a summer transfer, according to reports.
The 23-year-old was on the verge of signing for the Blues last summer after agreeing personal terms to make the switch to Stamford Bridge.
But as the window got closer and closer to closing, Sevilla’s valuation increased and Chelsea refused to meet the asking price which was the release clause of £68 million.
Thomas Tuchel admitted last September that Chelsea tried everything they could to sign the France international, which left them with just the signings of Romelu Lukaku, and then Saul Niguez on loan on Deadline Day.
He said: “It was clear we tried for Kounde and Saul and it was very, very late but it was a very, very smooth transfer window because I had full concentration on training and on my team.
"The amount of support of Petr Cech as a link, and together with Marina (Granovskaia), was fantastic, so it was pretty relaxed with a good outcome because in the end it was possible to add Saul into the group, which was a key position for us to have more alternatives and to not put all the pressure on the three guys' shoulders.
"So there's a lot of competition now going on and it's my job to be a good moderator."
Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui explained why Kounde remained, stating: “Kounde in the end has stayed because the club has decided that it was the right thing to do based on the evaluation of the offers they may have had.”
Now Chelsea are back for another attempt this summer - he is their number one defensive target as Tuchel eyes a defensive rebuild following the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
And Goal now report that talks remain ongoing for Kounde amid interest from Barcelona, who are keen on the central defender.
Personal terms with Kounde are not an issue, but there is still ‘work to do’ on agreeing a transfer fee.
Sevilla chief José María Cruz admitted earlier this month that Kounde wants to play in a more competitive team.
Again, the player, I am sure, respects Sevilla FC. He is happy with us. In the case of Kounde, it is not a matter of money. It’s a matter of him wanting to play in a more competitive team than Sevilla FC.
“I am sure he is a player that is attractive for teams like Chelsea, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and these types of teams. He wants to play in a more competitive team.”
Kounde, 23, recently had surgery on a minor injury which was planned, with Chelsea and Sevilla both aware.
Chelsea will be hoping to strike a deal for the Frenchman before pre-season to allow him to settle in ahead of their tour of the United States next month.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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