Jules Kounde to Chelsea transfer moves step closer as Sevilla leave ace out of Elche squad

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Chelsea have received a boost in their interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kounde ahead of Tuesday’s summer transfer deadline. Sevilla have left Kounde out of their squad for Saturday’s La Liga fixture at Elche, according to reports.

The Evening Standard claim Chelsea are ready to press on with their pursuit of Kounde, with Kurt Zouma set to complete a £25million move to West Ham United.

Despite his £68m release clause, Chelsea hope to sign the 22-year-old for around £43m in the final stages of the summer window.

The Blues’ Kounde move was reliant on Zouma’s West Ham switch, and he completed his medical in Paris on Thursday.

With Zouma heading for the exit door, the opportunity for his French compatriot to come in from the other way has risen.

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According to Spanish media, Kounde won’t play a part in Sevilla’s match this weekend amid the speculation over his future.

Thomas Tuchel has turned Chelsea’s defence into a formidable force during his short time at the club so far.

Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger are currently joined by Andreas Christensen and Trevor Chalobah within his ranks.

But Kounde would be Tuchel’s first defensive signing as manager and promises to add quality at the back for the present and future.

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Sevilla president Jose Castro has suggested the club are open to offers for Kounde, but nothing has arrived yet.

He said: “At the moment Kounde is a Sevilla player. We always study the offers that may come. But the days are running out, for now there is nothing.”

With just four days of the transfer window left, developments should be expected imminently.

Kounde has likely played his last game for Sevilla, though, after two impressive seasons at the club.

Chelsea are also being linked to wantaway Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez ahead of the August 31 transfer deadline.

The Blues may secure his services on a season-long loan with the option to buy, with Manchester United also said to be monitoring the situation.

Tuchel has already added top-class quality to his squad this summer, with Romelu Lukaku making his return to Stamford Bridge in a club-record £97.5m deal.

He is rightfully receiving backing from the club board after guiding the team to a second Champions League trophy at the end of last season.

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