Chelsea trying to thwart Tottenham transfer in late U-turn after Nathan Ake setback

Darren Lewis reporting on Chelsea FC from Beverley Hills

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Chelsea have reportedly revived their interest in a summer move for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, who is also believed to have emerged as a target for Tottenham. The Blues have been heavily linked with Kounde over the last 12 months but were said to have shelved their plans to bring him to Stamford Bridge after reaching a deal to land Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli earlier this week.

Nathan Ake recently appeared to have replaced Kounde at the top of Chelsea’s wish list, with the west Londoners having been locked in talks to snap him up from Manchester City in recent days. However, the Dutchman is now set to remain at the Etihad Stadium for the foreseeable future and Chelsea have wasted no time in switching their focus back to a move for Kounde, according to the Evening Standard.

It is claimed that Kounde was relegated from a priority signing to a back-up option by new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly, who initially targeted the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, Ake and Koulibaly ahead of the Frenchman. The Blues have since changed their stance, though, and will reportedly go back in for Kounde over the coming days and weeks.

Chelsea are likely to face stiff competition from Barcelona in the race to land the Sevilla man, who registered a total of 44 appearances at club level over the course of last season. He is already said to have settled on personal terms with the Catalan giants but it remains to be seen whether they will be able to afford to pay his transfer fee before the new season gets underway.

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Sevilla will ultimately be forced to let go of Kounde if a bid matches his release clause, which is believed to be in the region of £76million. He is widely expected to move on this summer after initially expressing his desire to seek a new challenge over a year ago and it seems as though a Premier League switch could be the most likely outcome as things stand.

However, it has already been suggested that Kounde could struggle to adapt to the trials and tribulations of the English game if he eventually joins Chelsea by ex-Liverpool winger Steve McManaman.

“Kounde is a French international and he’s young, he will attract attention,” said McManaman when quizzed on the Sevilla defender’s qualities last year.

“The way defenders in Spain play always means they do. But even though he’s only 23 years old, he has been around and has been highly thought of for the past couple of years. However, nobody’s plumped for him yet, and there’s a reason.

“It’s either because he’s too expensive or he’s just not top level yet. I still think he has to improve if he’s going to be in the top echelons of the Premier League, where you will find the very best teams.”

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