LOSC Lille’s defensive ace Sven Botman has reportedly emerged as an ideal alternative for Chelsea’s top target Jules Kounde.

A recent report from ESPN has offered an update on Chelsea’s pursuit of a new defender in January. After a botched move for Jules Kounde in the summer, it appears the reigning European champions are back in the running for the Sevilla defender. This time around, the Spanish giants are prepared to slash their demands, while Kounde himself has agreed personal terms regarding a move to Stamford Bridge.

However, Chelsea have identified a couple of alternatives in case the deal falls through. They are reportedly considering a move for VfL Wolfsburg starlet Maxence Lacroix,  but coach Thomas Tuchel has also set his sights on another talented defensive ace in the form of Sven Botman.

A product of the famed Ajax academy, Botman joined Lille last summer for a fee of just €8 million. It turned out to be quite the bargain for Les Dogues as the 21-year-old Dutchman built a formidable defensive partnership alongside Jose Fonte in his first season at the club.

Their collective contributions not only made Lille one of the best defensive teams in Europe, but it also helped them sensationally pip Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 title. With a total of 37 league appearances, he was indeed an ever-present figure in the side, making an impression with his imposing presence and the ability to read the game.

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Botman’s performances have not gone unnoticed either, with the 21-year-old defender being linked with a move to Premier League this season. One of the clubs in contention to sign the youngster is Newcastle United, but it appears the Magpies are now set to face stiff competition from Chelsea.

The Blues are currently in the market for a new centre-back that can emerge as a long-term replacement for Antonio Rudiger. The German international is expected to run out his contract at Stamford Bridge and leave Chelsea as a free agent.

The same can be said for another defensive asset in Andreas Christensen, who is reportedly a target for league rivals such as Tottenham and Manchester United. In addition to Christensen and Rudiger, Chelsea may also have difficulties keeping hold of Cesar Azpilicueta, with the club more or less expecting a mass exodus in the summer.

Tuchel is hoping that the arrival of talented defensive stars like Kounde, Lacroix or Botman could help him build a solid core for the future. It remains to be seen of any of the three defensive aces is signed by Chelsea anytime soon.

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