Chelsea continue to keep tabs on top defensive target Jules Kounde after failing to sign the Frenchman in the summer window.

According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea remain interested in signing Sevilla defender Jules Kounde at some point in the January window or next summer, as he remains Thomas Tuchel’s top defensive target. A summer move failed to materialise due to a complicated situation between both clubs, despite the player being keen.

During the summer, Thomas Tuchel was happy with Chelsea’s transfer dealings, as the club secured a top goalscorer and quality midfield cover. The German boss wanted to shore up the defence and was eager to sign Jules Kounde from Sevilla, although the deal created unusual complications that eventually stalled a move.

Tuchel was keen on strengthening his defence as he identified certain aspects for the long term future. The Blues boss was impressed by Reece James’ ability to play on the right side of the back three and hence targetted Achraf Hakimi in the summer, only to see the Morrocan join PSG.

Meanwhile, Thiago Silva, who turns 37 this month, only has a year left on his deal. Caesar Azpilicueta, while still performing at his best ability, turns 32 and Chelsea have to plan for the long-term future. A player like Kounde fits the bill at Stamford Bridge, and the club remain keen on signing him.

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Sevilla and Chelsea reportedly had a verbal agreement of sorts. However, as the transfer deadline approached, it became extremely difficult for the Spanish side to secure a suitable replacement had Kounde left very late in the window. Hence, Sevilla demanded Chelsea pay the 22-year-old Frenchman’s release clause of a reported £68 million.

While Chelsea refused to budge over the latest demand, the deal fell flat, and Kounde remained with Sevilla. The player is also thought to be keen on a move. The Blues are reportedly still keeping tabs and could make another offer in January or next summer.

The Premier League side also created room for Kounde’s arrival with the sale of Kurt Zouma to West Ham United. However, in general, Chelsea had a terrific transfer window, turning a profit despite the high profile purchase of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan in a reported £98 million deal.

It will be interesting to see how soon do Chelsea make another approach for Kounde. If it will be in January remains a big question, although one can surely predict a bid next summer. However, even without Kounde, Chelsea remains a formidable side in all parts of the field and are considered genuine contenders this season.

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