Chelsea are prepared to do ‘whatever it takes’ to land Jules Kounde as the club step up their pursuit of the Sevilla defender.
The west London side have opened talks with Sevilla over a deal for the highly-rated centre-back, who has established himself as one of the best young defenders in Europe since signing from Bordeaux two seasons ago.
Kounde has a release clause in his contract of €80m (£68m), though Chelsea are keen to lower that figure with the inclusion of players in part-exchange with both Emerson Palmieri and Kurt Zouma having been mentioned as potential makeweights.
The proposal including Emerson was rejected by Sevilla, and whilst there is interest in the possibility of Zouma moving to Spain, the player himself is settled in London and is subject of interest from Premier League rivals West Ham.
The Athletic are reporting that Chelsea remain determined to agree a deal however, having tracked Kounde for two years with the Blues’ pursuit of the France international described as ‘incessant’.
Sevilla are under no pressure to sell but there is an acceptance that Kounde will be allowed to leave should the La Liga side receive a suitable offer, having rejected an approach from Manchester City for the 22-year-old last summer.
Chelsea are keen to add a centre-back to their options amid uncertainty surrounding the futures of several leading names, with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta all into the final years of their contracts at Stamford Bridge.