Chelsea ‘leading Manchester United in the race to sign Sevilla’s centre back star Jules Kounde – and they will offer Hakim Ziyech in player-plus-cash deal’
Thomas Tuchel is in the market for a centre-back this summer and wants to bring Kounde, a long-term target of Manchester United’s, to Stamford Bridge.
Reports in Spain claim Chelsea are in pole position to land the 22-year-old and are prepared to use Ziyech as makeweight to secure a deal despite only splashing out £37.8million on him last summer.
Chelsea are in pole position to sign Sevilla’s sought-after defender Jules Kounde (right)
Spanish reports claim Chelsea will offer Hakim Ziyech to Sevilla in a bid to secure Kounde
AS report that Chelsea are hesitant to pay the defender’s £69m release clause in full and will instead offer Sevilla a player in a bid to drive his price down.
Moroccan playmaker Ziyech, who has been in and out of Chelsea’s team, has failed to live up to expectations since joining from Ajax, chipping in with just four goals and the same number of assists all season.
The attacking midfielder is one of six players that Chelsea could be ready to use in a swap deal, but is arguably the most high-profile name.
The same publication also claims that Tammy Abraham, Cesar Azpilicueta, Michy Batshuayi, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Kepa Arrizabalaga could be offered to tempt Sevilla into parting with their prized asset.
Tammy Abraham (L) and Cesar Azpilicueta (R) are two who could also be offered in exchange
The France Under-21 international is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe and almost joined Manchester City last season, but Pep Guardiola signed Ruben Dias instead after Seville turned down their £46m offer.
Kounde is currently being chased by Chelsea and United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer making it his priority this summer to sign a new defensive partner for Harry Maguire.
United have drawn up a shortlist of alternative targets, which includes Edmund Tapsoba, Raphael Varane, Pau Torres and Ibrahima Konate, though Kounde is thought to be their preference.
The Frenchman is in his second campaign with Sevilla, having helped Julen Lopetegui’s side to win the Europa League last campaign.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) wants a new centre-back and is also keen on Sevilla’s Kounde