Premier League side Chelsea are in ‘direct talks’ with Spanish club Sevilla over Jules Kounde.
The 22-year-old has been a target for Thomas Tuchel’s side all summer, and as the transfer window prepares to slam shut, a move is looking increasingly likely.
In July, the price was thought to be around the €30m mark, with Kurt Zouma also heading to La Liga to raise the deal’s value.
That price has now doubled but still relies on Zouma, now a target for West Ham United.
Sports Lens reports that Kounde’s release clause has increased to €90m for the final fortnight of the transfer window, but they could be willing to accept €70m plus add-ons on one crucial condition; they can sign a replacement before the August deadline.
Chelsea, who won the Champions League last season, are already off to a solid start this time out.
After winning the European Super Cup on penalties, they kicked off a Premier League season in which they are ranked as second-favourites with Bwin.
Only Manchester City are expected to do better, and a solid start has seen The Blues win twice, scoring five goals without reply.
Zouma has been an unused sub in both games, as his time at Stamford Bridge looks to come to an end.
Kounde appeared in Sevilla’s opening game of the season as they routed Real Vallecano 3-0, but he comes fresh from the back of Euro 2020.
He featured only once in the summer tournament, playing 90 minutes as favourites France were held 2-2 by Portugal in the Group Stages. He was an unused sub as they slipped out of the tournament, surprisingly, but he looks to have a big future with his home country.
Kounde began his career with Bordeaux in the south of France, making 55 top-flight performances before Sevilla expressed interest.
He secured his move to Spain in July 2019, costing Los Nervionenses €25m.
His first campaign in Spain was a huge success – he was part of the team that won the 2020 Europa League, playing 90 minutes in their quarterfinal win against Wolves, all of the semifinal victory against Manchester United and the full game in their exciting 3-2 win in the final against Inter.
In the Champions League last season, he appeared regularly for them, eventually going out to Borussia Dortmund in the knockout stages, 5-4 on aggregate.
His performances in La Liga caught the eye of Didier Deschamps, who handed the youngster a debut in the run-up to Euro 2020 as a halftime sub in the friendly against Wales.
That, coupled with his appearance against Portugal, are his only two international appearances to date.
It seems now he could be set for the next stage of his career with the ambitious Blues, who are once again in the hunt for a Premier League title, a prize they haven’t won since 2017.
They’ve only finished in the top two twice in the last decade, but with Tuchel seemingly reinventing them once again, there’s every chance they’re going to be a serious force this season.
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Blues fans will just be hoping it is with the exciting 22-year-old as part of their talented young squad.