Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and the club’s hierarchy have been handed a potential transfer headache, with the emergence and form of a youth academy product providing a dilemma over whether to end the pursuit of a star defender.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is one of La Liga’s biggest breakout talents of the last couple of years and has become a fixture in the France national team under Didier Deschamps.
As the Blues attempt to defend their Champions League crown and recapture domestic glory, Tuchel had previously identified a new striker and central defender as key to these efforts, with Romelu Lukaku already landed up top in a whopping £97.5million ($132 million) deal from Inter Milan.
Chelsea were therefore expected to hone in on first choice Kounde to tick the second box, but Tuchel has appeared to have changed his mind according to AS in Spain.
This development has been brought about by the emergence of Trevoh Chalobah during the west Londoners’ preseason camp, with the Sierra Leone-born former England U21 impressive in starts against Villarreal in the Super Cup final and Crystal Palace, where he scored, in the Premier League.
The Stamford Bridge giants might have too many defenders now, as the 22-year-old is joined by Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger plus Kurt Zouma as center back options while Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta are also capable of playing in the position.
Some outlets have suggested that this could potentially cause a rift between the manager and the board, with As also reporting that Sevilla expects another, raised bid from Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia before the close of the current window on August 31.
They point to extra funds being freed up by the €40 million ($47 million) sale of Tammy Abraham to Roma, now managed by Jose Mourinho, and the fact that Kounde’s release clause will rise from €80 to €90 million ($94 to $105 million) if not purchased in the next nine days.
Kounde is regarded as a top prospect, and there might not be another chance to land him if the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona can get their finances back on track next summer.
But it must be asked if it’s really necessary to spend such money with Chalobah, who will be offered a new contract, now another sound selection choice.