Chelsea are understood to be in ‘pole position’ to sign Jules Kounde with the west London side considering a summer move for the Sevilla centre-back.
Kounde has been watched by several leading sides since signing for Sevilla from Bordeaux, establishing himself as one of the world’s best young defenders and attracting interest from Manchester City during last summer’s transfer window.
The 22-year-old has a long list of admirers that includes Manchester United and both Real Madrid and Barcelona, though AS are reporting that Chelsea lead the race as the Blues look to strengthen their centre-back options.
Kounde has starred since making the move to Spanish football and has enjoyed a strong second season in Seville, forming part of the division’s second-best defence with Julen Lopetegui’s side having conceded just 24 goals from their 30 league fixtures.
The defender’s raw athleticism makes him appear a fine fit for the demands of the Premier League, whilst he has showcased his ability in possession and ranks amongst La Liga’s leading centre-backs for pass completion.
Chelsea are keen to reinforce his backline this summer and are amongst the few clubs capable of prising Kounde from the La Liga side, with the France u21 international possessing a release clause of €80m in his contract.
Sevilla, however, have previously shown they are willing to cash in on their leading assets for the right fee and the report suggests Chelsea could offer one of a selection of players in part-exchange for the youngster.
Hakim Ziyech, Tammy Abraham, Michy Batshuayi and Tiémoué Bakayoko are amongst the names who have been suggested as potential makeweights in a deal for Kounde, as Tuchel looks to overhaul the squad he inherited from Frank Lampard in January.