Chelsea remain confident of signing Jules Kounde despite sanctions

Chelsea remain confident of signing Jules Kounde despite sanctions

Chelsea thought they had a contract in place to recruit the centre-back last summer, only to be surprised by a last-minute escalation in demands from the La Liga club. Despite his desire to go, the Frenchman was forced to remain in Spain as the Blues refused to return to the negotiating table.

Sources reported in January that the 23-year-old was still Chelsea’s priority above a host of other centre-back targets such as Villarreal’s Pau Torres, and that attitude has not altered despite the restrictions placed by the UK government on the club’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea are unable to negotiate new contracts or recruit new players while Abramovich is still the owner under the terms of the measures, with a lengthy process nearing completion as the three selected bidders make their last pitches in London this week.

Chelsea has had a long-standing interest in Kounde, who was originally viewed as a replacement for Kurt Zouma when he left for West Ham last summer. However, with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen about to go on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively, the need for reinforcement in central defence has grown imperative.

Meanwhile, Christensen has all but clinched a transfer to Camp Nou when his current deal expires, pending an announcement. Uncertainty surrounds the future of another defender, Cesar Azpilicueta, despite the fact that a one-year extension to his contract has been activated.


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