Chelsea have joined Manchester United in the race for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde, according to reports in Spain.
Kounde has established himself as one of the best defenders in La Liga since leaving his native France in 2019. The former Bordeaux centre-back was a key part of the Sevilla squad that won last season’s Europa League and continues to be influential this term.
At the age of 22, it seems clear that Kounde’s long-term future will lie away from Sevilla. He has the potential to play for a European giant – and links with Man Utd have persisted for some time.
United are looking for the perfect partner for Harry Maguire at the back. Doubts remain about Victor Lindelof, while Eric Bailly seems to be unsettled at the club.
A recent report suggested they have whittled down their shortlist and Kounde is one of the names who remains in contention. However, United is not his only potential destination.
According to La Colina De Nervion, Chelsea have now entered the battle for Kounde.
The Blues are looking for a long-term successor to Thiago Silva. The Brazilian is out of contract at the end of the season, but has impressed and may earn a one-year extension.
Even so, Chelsea will still need to find younger competition for him and they don’t come much better than Kounde.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are said to have registered their interest, leaving Sevilla braced for a bidding war. But that is something that will actually be welcomed by the Spanish side, who could raise huge funds as a result.
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Sevilla are planning to only let Kounde go if they can make him their most expensive sale in history. Their current record departure was £36m, but Kounde is likely to cost much more than that.
Many top European teams are ready to make an effort to sign him, though. Chelsea are among them and he is seen as the ideal solution for their defensive dilemma.
They will have to flex their financial muscles once again to stand any chance of winning the race for his signature.
Kounde has several suitors
Another admirer of Kounde is Manchester City, who tried to sign him before getting Ruben Dias last summer.
Given the impact Dias has made, they won’t be regretting that decision too much, but it seems Kounde is still on their radar.
La Colina De Nervion add that the three La Liga title challengers – Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona – are all also keen. Furthermore, the champions of the leagues in France, Italy and Germany (PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich) are in contention.
Sevilla are aware of how much interest there is in their prize asset. In fact, there are even claims that Kounde is the most in-demand player in world football after Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.
Whoever gets him will have a great player on their hands and Chelsea are the latest to hope it will be them.
READ MORE: Man Utd, Chelsea on alert as asking price for in-demand defender tumbles
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