Chelsea are ready to pull out all the stops in order to secure a summer transfer for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, according to reports.
For much of this transfer window it was Tottenham who appeared to be in the driving seat for Kounde with numerous reports linking Spurs with a move.
However, with a deal proving too expensive for the north London club, it is Chelsea who look likely to swoop in and sign the centre-back.
Speculation also suggested Man Utd had some interest in a deal for Kounde before they agreed a deal for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.
On Tuesday, Fabrizio Romano claimed that Kounde ‘has an agreement ready on personal terms with Chelsea’ and that Sevilla and the Premier League side were in ‘advanced talks’ over the fee.
That was quickly followed up the next day by more news from Romano, with the transfer expert saying that the Blues had offered Sevilla €30-35m and Kurt Zouma for Kounde.
However, Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth yesterday said that Zouma would prefer a move to Premier League side West Ham over a transfer to Sevilla.
He claims David Moyes’ side are willing to pay £20m for the French centre-back, though that falls below the west London club’s valuation.
And now The Athletic claims Chelsea will ‘do whatever it takes’ to sign Kounde this summer with the France international having a €80m (£68m) release clause in his contract.
The report insists that Chelsea are ‘trying to offer players plus cash as part of negotiations to lower the fee’ but they also speak of ‘complications’ over using Zouma in exchange.
One source has told the website that the Blues’ pursuit of Kounde is ‘incessant and expects a deal to be secured’.
The source said: “Chelsea want Kounde no matter what. He has been earmarked as a player they have been wanting to buy for the past two years. Zouma is the player that is being looked at to go the other way, but Chelsea are going to try and find a way to get this done regardless.”
The Athletic add:
‘The Athletic learned at an early stage following Tuchel’s arrival in January that a new centre-back was part of their transfer plans. Several names were under consideration along with Kounde, including Niklas Sule, Ibrahima Konate and Jose Gimenez.’