Chelsea’s move for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde ‘hanging in the balance’ with LaLiga club ‘now holding out for £68.5m’ just days before transfer deadline… and the deal may depend on Kurt Zouma joining West Ham
- Chelsea identified Jules Kounde as their No 1 target to improve their defence
- But Sevilla defender Kounde now reportedly has a price tag of £68.5million
- Sky Sports claim this figure means that the deal is currently in the balance
- The switch may also heavily depend on whether Kurt Zouma joins West Ham
Chelsea’s move for Sevilla centre back Jules Kounde was left hanging in the balance last night with a deal still not agreed, according to reports.
Kounde has been a long-term target for Chelsea this summer as they look to sign another defender, and the club are said to have been close to sealing a £43m fee.
However, as claimed by Sky Sports, Sevilla are now holding out for £68.5m, a figure much closer to Kounde’s release clause, dealing a blow days before the deadline.
Chelsea’s move for Jules Kounde is hanging in the balance due to his new £68.5m price tag
It is believed that the 22-year-old is keen to make the move to Chelsea, but is also keen for any agreement to be struck before a hectic scramble on the last day.
Any swoop for Kounde looks as thought it will also depend heavily on whether or not West Ham snap up Kurt Zouma.
Sportsmail revealed how that signing is expected to go through despite a hitch in the negotiations on Wednesday.
Kurt Zouma is set to join West Ham in a deal that may help Chelsea wrap up Kounde’s signing
These obstacles were overcome to thrash out a £26m price tag, and Zouma is now on compassionate leave. He began his medical on Thursday.
West Ham’s attempts to land Zouma looked to have been in doubt when intermediaries ran into difficulties, but a five-year contract has now been tabled.
Zouma wants a £125,000-a-week contract at the London Stadium, as Sportsmail revealed earlier this week.
One source has told Sky Sports that Kounde’s fate is effectively in Zouma’s hands.
Kounde has been a key target for Chelsea this summer as they look to challenge for the title
Sevilla president Jos Castro has made it clear to Chelsea and other potential suitors that Kounde will be available, but only for the right price.
‘At the moment, Kounde is a Sevilla player,’ Castro said. ‘What we have done this year is strengthen, we have signed six players.
‘We want to have a potent team. We always study the offers when they arrive, but days are running out. At the moment, there is nothing.’
Kounde’s release clause stands at €90million (£77m), but Chelsea have been working on a reduced price for the France international.
Thomas Tuchel will be hopeful Kounde is wrapped up with just days before the window closes
Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui said he is prepared for Kounde’s big-money exit to west London
Meanwhile, Julen Lopetegui, the Sevilla manager, admitted he is braced for Kounde’s departure, but says the move will leave him short at the back.
‘The Sevilla coach must be prepared for all issues,’ Lopetegui said in his pre-match press conference.
‘These guys have their share of the market. What is going to happen I don’t know. If Jules leaves we are left with two centre-backs.
‘If it happens, we have full confidence in Monchi. There is little time left, and nothing is simple. Our focus is 100% on the Elche game.’