Jules Kounde – the one that got away. For the summer at least.
The Blues had a £42.5million offer rejected over the summer with the Spanish side demanding their £69million release clause be met. Chelsea’s move also came late in the window, with the suggestion they waited until Kurt Zouma was sold to West Ham for nearly £30million for funds.
“The proposal for Kounde last summer [from Chelsea] was great, the most important we received in our history – but it wasn’t meeting our price tag,” explained Sevilla sporting director, Monchi, in an interview with Canal Sur Radio last month. “Also, we received the bid in an inopportune moment.”
Trevoh Chalobah has signed a new deal after a breakout start to the season but Thomas Tuchel and Marina Granovskaia are still sat in the same position they were in August.
Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva are all out of contract in the summer, which threatens to decimate Tuchel’s dominant defensive force.
Talk over the deals for Christensen and Rudiger have been most prolific, with both players experiencing a stall in negotiations.
With uncertainty over which defenders will still be in the squad come June 2022, it would be easy to consider a January transfer as the only business that would be more pressing than the summer. Tuchel has been coy however.
The Blues boss said: “I think every transfer period you need to evaluate again.
“You cannot say what we wanted in the summer, we do in the winter. And what we want to do in winter, we want to do the next summer. It is not like this.
“Your opinion changes, players change, you have evolvement in the group, you have an atmosphere that you build, you see who is absolutely reliable and these connections build up and create something special hopefully in the group.
“So you cannot say what we tried in the summer did not happen so we will try again for sure in the winter. Sometimes it is like this. If we see the same need, but clearly, Trevoh is now here with us and he deserves to be here with us. It had nothing to do with if we can sign another central defender or not. But he stepped up.
“The responsibility was even more on his shoulders and he can handle it so far in a very impressive way. This is the situation and it has an effect on our next decisions in the next transfer period. It is always like this.”
Chalobah’s emergence has been welcome but one player cannot make up a defensive line, and with Manchester United reported to be planning to trigger Kounde’s release clause, Chelsea may have a decision to make.
The Red Devils signed Raphael Varane in the summer but the former Real Madrid star’s time at Old Trafford has been plagued by injury so far, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have long been linked to his compatriot who has helped Sevilla to six clean sheets in the 10 matches he has played.
If Chelsea retain an interest, it may be time for Granovskaia to get to work and it seems Chelsea will have little option to pay the fee that forces the La Liga side’s hand. If they miss out on the 22-year-old to Manchester United, their position in negotiations with the likes of Rudiger and Christensen may be weakened.
Regardless the Blues need to decide on their plans. Wrapping up deals for the out of contract stars is crucial, with a plethora of clubs waiting to put forward their proposals in January when the players enter the final six months of their deals.
It’s sensible to re-evaluate targets ahead of every transfer window, but with transfer season already heading into motion, there won’t be much time to ponder.
Source by Football London