Chelsea to leverage ‘fury’ to low-ball Sevilla in January

Will Ford
Jules Kounde Chelsea

Chelsea are set to return for Jules Kounde in January, but are not prepared to increase the €50m offer they made for the centre-back this summer.

The Blues offered a swap deal with Sevilla which would have seen Kurt Zouma move in the opposite direction.

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But, as director Monchi explained, the bid failed to meet the La Liga side’s “criteria”.

Monchi said: “The only written, formal offer from Chelsea came last Wednesday, around 5pm.

“We weren’t satisfied with the offer, and it was linked to Chelsea selling a player. It was a decent fee but it didn’t meet our criteria.

“We haven’t spoken with Chelsea since Friday night. We all decided that it was best Jules didn’t travel to Elche. It’s normal for players to be affected by news of any kind. Last year he had the interest from City and now Chelsea this year.

“Kounde’s clause never went up to €90million. It has always been €80m.”

Zouma instead moved to West Ham, but despite receiving £25m for his transfer, Chelsea refused to increase their bid for Kounde.

The deadline passed, Chelsea were left without a centre-back replacement, and Kounde was reportedly ‘furious’.

The 22-year-old was said to be ignoring phonecalls from Monchi and manager Julen Lopetegui having agreed personal terms over a move to Stamford Bridge.

ESPN now claim that Chelsea will return for Kounde in January, but will once again offer €50m, with Sevilla under more pressure to sell their asset, who remains keen on a move to play under Thomas Tuchel.

It remains to be seen how Kounde – who is on international duty with France – will react to the situation upon his return to his club, but Chelsea will hope that having made his feelings at the failed transfer clear, Monchi will be open to negotiation over his £68million release clause.

Gary Neville claims the Blues have been left a bit “light” due to their failure to land Kounde, but still have the squad to “challenge on all fronts” this season.

He said: “You could argue that Chelsea may be a bit light at the back, but what they do have is a system of playing with those two players sat in front of that back three that makes them solid. So what Thomas Tuchel has done since he’s come in is maybe recognise that they can’t be a back four.

“If you were looking at them as a pair of centre-backs you wouldn’t be sure about them winning the league, but with the three they have at the back, and sometimes it becomes a five with the two protecting in front, Chelsea are more than comfortable.

“They’ve got a system of playing that protects the individuals from potentially being isolated and that now, with the confidence and the belief they have when you win a Champions League like they did last season and with the business they have done in the transfer window, they are going to be very difficult to stop.”