"Hopefully things will get better" – Arteta on Chelsea defeat
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Chelsea have agreed a fee with Sevilla for defender Jules Kounde and are closing in on a sensational transfer, according to reports. Thomas Tuchel has made a new centre-back his top priority after signing Romelu Lukaku for £97.5million.
Tuchel promised not to make sweeping changes to the squad which he guided to an incredible Champions League success in May, with Lukaku and free transfer goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli the only arrivals so far.
But the potential arrival of Kounde will take Chelsea’s spending well over £100m if he joins from the La Liga side.
Kounde has been widely linked with a move to the West Londoners after impressing in La Liga. Rumours have also suggested that Real Madrid are interested in the Frenchman.
But it now seems that the Blues have jumped ahead of Real in the race for the 22-year-old.
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According to Sky Sports, Chelsea and Sevilla have agreed a £42m fee and the deal is ‘almost done’.
Tuchel has wanted a new centre-back this summer, despite the emergence of academy graduate Trevoh Chalobah.
The 22-year-old Chalobah – brother of Watford star Nathaniel – impressed Tuchel in pre-season and performed well in the club’s European Super Cup victory over Villarreal.
He then scored on his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace with a thumping 30-yard strike.
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Fellow defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have entered the final 12 months of their contracts and Tuchel wants to bolster his options.
The German head coach has preferred a 3-4-3 formation since replacing Frank Lampard in January and likes to have plenty of players to choose from.
“I am absolutely happy with our squad and the alternatives we have,” Tuchel said after his side defeated Arsenal on Sunday.
“It’s not too big a squad, we were missing Christian Pulisic today and that meant everybody else was in the squad.
“That means we maybe don’t have the biggest squad but that we have a very competitive squad in all positions.
“This, on one hand, is necessary because we play a lot of competitions and we play the World Club Cup in December.
“We also played very long last season and there was the Euros and Copa America.
“So if we want to compete we need this level. But at the same time, it’s also important we’re a strong group, this was maybe the key for the last half a year. We played with a strong bond and a great team spirit.
“This is a challenge for the team and for me to create this atmosphere again. And that everybody is ready to take hard decisions and keep pushing the team.
“If we do this we can achieve more than we have.”
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