It was easy to get lost in the bizarrely hilariously chaos that was Monday’s Champions League draw, or the draw that then wasn’t.
Then completely redone only for a rogue Michael Owen to very briefly cause mass panic by suggesting UEFA might have messed up a second time.
Luckily, the unwanted trilogy did not arrive and Owen was quickly proven wrong. In amongst this hilarity would have been a very happy Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea were handed favourable opposition in Lille avoiding Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Ajax.
The draw was perfect for Tuchel heading into 2022 but also within it had a hidden bonus.
Lille finished top of their Champions League group with 11 points, qualifying along with Red Bull Salzburg who drew Bayern Munich for the last 16 instead of Chelsea.
Within Lille’s group were regulars Sevilla who again dropped down to their favoured Europa League which they have won four times over the past seven years.
Although Sevilla not making the knockout stage of the Champions League is not a massive shock, the inability to do so may well strengthen Chelsea’s position to sign long-held target Jules Kounde in 2022.
Domestically Sevilla are doing very well in La Liga, sitting second behind Real Madrid with 34 points, 10 points clear of a labouring Barcelona for perspective.
But even in that position of strength, the loss of prize money you receive from reaching the last 16 will be a blow.
Via a 2020 report from City A.M. the prize money for reaching the first knockout round is estimated to be an extra £8m in addition to the £12.7m for reaching the group stage.
Sevilla dug their heels in over the summer transfer window when Chelsea tried to sign Kounde with reports circulating that Marina Granovskaia had negotiated a fee of around £50m.
Monchi, Sevilla’s sporting director revealed in October that Chelsea’s serious approach for the defender made the club contemplate selling.
“The proposal for Koundé last summer [from Chelsea] was great, the most important we received in our history.” Monchi told Canal Sur Radio.
“But it wasn’t meeting our price tag. Also, we received the bid in an inopportune moment”.
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January may still feel like an inopportune time for Sevilla riding high in the league under Julen Lopetegui, however, the lack of a financial boost from the Champions League this term may prove enough to convince both the player and club to sell next summer.
Chelsea’s interest in Kounde is unlikely to dwindle so fully expect this link to be reignited in the coming months and their next Champions League opponent may have helped ensure that.
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