Thomas Tuchel is no longer keen on pursuing a deal for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde but Chelsea’s hierarchy intend to continue negotiations irrespective of the manager’s wishes, according to reports.
The German coach had identified a new striker and centre-back as the two keys areas he wanted to strengthen during the summer window, with the club smashing their transfer record to sign Romelu Lukaku in a £97.5million deal to tick one of those boxes.
Chelsea were expected to ramp up their efforts to bring in a new defender – with Kounde their top choice – before the window closes, but Tuchel appears to have had a re-think.
The Chelsea boss has been enormously impressed by youngster Trevoh Chalobah during pre-season, starting him in the Super Cup against Villarreal and against Crystal Palace, and wants him to be part of the first-team squad.
According to AS, Chalobah’s emergence coupled with Chelsea’s abundance of central defenders has seen Tuchel ‘change his mind’ over the need to sign Kounde.
With the likes of Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma already at the club, and Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta capable of playing at centre-back too, the Champions League holders are overloaded with defensive options.
But AS claim Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia wants to push ahead with the deal regardless, with Kounde viewed as an outstanding prospect, while they may never get a free run at the Frenchman again with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona dealing with financial restrictions this summer.
Tuchel, though, has previously spoken of the need to protect the balance of his squad and he could be left with a lot of unhappy and underused defenders if Kounde arrives.
Zouma could yet leave Stamford Bridge to open up a place in the squad, but he rejected a move to West Ham who were unable to match his salary demands and there are very clubs who can afford his wages.
Tuchel is also thought to favour signing a new central midfielder over a centre-back, with Chelsea only having three recognised, senior players in that position: Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.
Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez is an option, with the Spaniard having been offered to the Blues and several other Premier League clubs, while Monaco’s young defensive midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni is also on Chelsea’s radar.
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