Long-term Chelsea target Jules Kounde was on the scoresheet for Sevilla in their 3-2 win at Levante on Thursday evening. The French centre-back struck with a powerful header to help Julen Lopetegui’s side stay on the coattails of Barcelona; who recently overtook them as Real Madrid’s closest challengers.
Kounde was heavily linked with a move to the Blues last summer and more recently in the January transfer window, but a deal to bring the Sevilla star to Stamford Bridge ultimately failed to materialise. With Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen set to leave the club when their contracts expire in June, there’s a good chance that Chelsea will reignite their interest in the Frenchman.
The 23-year-old is a right-sided centre-back but can also play at right-back, making him perfect for Thomas Tuchel’s preferred back three system. At 5ft 11ins, Kounde isn’t particularly tall for a defender but his powerful leap makes him formidable in the air; a trait that exhibits his value in both penalty areas.
He is also comfortable playing the ball out from the back, and his ability to switch play could bring another dynamic to the Blues’ attack with the west London club boasting so much quality in wide areas. Kounde is just a year older than Reece James and the two could form an exciting partnership down Chelsea’s right with both players exhibiting many of the same attributes.
It’s believed that Sevilla would want between £50million-£60million for his services; Kounde’s contract with the La Liga side runs until the summer of 2024. Given his age and his potential it could prove to be a worthwhile investment, especially as the first cause for concern for the Blues this summer will be to strengthen a defence that could be missing two key players if as expected Rudiger and Christensen both leave on free transfers.
This summer promises to be a huge one for the club; the new owners will need to back Tuchel financially in order to allow them to not only compete at their current level, but also to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool. They will strengthen and Blues cannot afford to be left further behind.