Chelsea is only one signing away from completing their squad
Chelsea have already strengthened significantly this summer thanks to the £97.5 million signing of Romelu Lukaku, but they are only one player away from being an unstoppable force this season. Chelsea have proven that they are serious title contenders, but they showed some flaws in their 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, highlighting that they are still one signing away from having a full squad for the upcoming season.Following a tense start, Kai Havertz stunned the Anfield crowd with a looping header over Allison midway through the first half to give the visitors the lead. Just before halftime, Reece James was sent off for handling the ball off the line, and Mohamed Salah converted the resulting penalty to equalize for the hosts.
Liverpool pushed and pressed throughout a ferocious second half, but Chelsea just about held on for a point, highlighting that their defense could use a significant boost. Chelsea were excellent last season after Thomas Tuchel took over from Frank Lampard, and they really began to gel as a squad after the German’s appointment, winning their second Champions League title after narrowly missing out on FA Cup glory.Coming into the summer, they were just two signings away from becoming unstoppable, and the arrival of Romelu Lukaku for £97.5 million has solved the lack of physical presence at one end, with one signing still required at the other. Chelsea have been heavily linked with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, and it appeared that the Blues were on the verge of completing a £43 million deal for the 22-year-old.
However, Sevilla have reportedly increased their valuation of the Frenchman and are now demanding a price closer to Kounde’s £68.5m release clause, putting a halt to talks between the two parties. Tuchel’s success with a back three has been overwhelming, but Cesar Azpilicueta is the only guaranteed starter on the team sheet, with Andreas Christiensen, Antonio Rudiger, and Kurt Zouma all rotating, and Thiaga Silva featuring when fully fit.
As a result, a potential deal for Kounde could be exactly what Tuchel needs to complete his defensive line, with Zouma set to make way if a deal between Chelsea and Sevilla is reached. Zouma is expected to join West Ham United for £25 million, and a deal for Kounde is contingent on his fellow Frenchman leaving the club, but Chelsea are in an awkward position because they may not want to let their defender go if Sevilla are unwilling to sell.
Tuchel’s team was notoriously difficult to break down last season, but they were still breached largely due to inconsistencies in starts, and rotation did take its toll, which a deal for Kounde could alleviate. Kounde has established himself as one of La Liga’s best defenders and is thought to want to leave Sevilla before the transfer window closes, but after impressing last season, the Spanish club wants to get the most money for their prized asset.The Frenchman joined Sevilla in 2019 after being sold by Bordeaux for a reported €25 million (£21.5 million), and the centre-half has starred in La Liga, turning the heads of Europe’s elite, and was rewarded with a call-up to France’s Euro 202 squad this summer. If Sevilla is to let their man go, they will most likely do so as close to the deadline as possible in an attempt to drive up the fee and hope that Chelsea caves.
The signing of Romelu Lukaku was the perfect example of this, as Chelsea’s initial approach was turned down, so they tabled an offer that Inter Milan couldn’t refuse. If Chelsea is serious about acquiring the Sevilla defender, they may have to repeat the process and activate Kounde’s release clause.