Jules Kounde could become Chelsea’s second summer signing after the Blues held a productive talks with Sevilla over a move for the highly-rated centre-back.
The Champions League holders have already unveiled former England shot-stopper Marcus Bettinelli as their first summer signing on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old, who has been a free agent since the expiration of his contract at Fulham this summer, joined the west London club on a two-year deal.
Bettinelli will be Chelsea’s new third-choice goalkeeper behind Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
After unveiled Bettinelli on Wednesday afternoon, Chelsea now switch their attention to completing the signing of Jules Kounde from Sevilla this summer.
The Blues have made the first move for the 22-year-old centre back, with Kurt Zouma being discussed as a makeweight in the deal.
The Frenchman, who has a £68.4million release clause, already agreed personal terms with the Stamford Bridge outfit and it’s a matter of days for Marina Granovskaia to strike deal.
Kounde, who joined the Spanish club two years ago, has gone on to establish himself as one of the most promising defenders in Europe.
A versatile performer, Kounde can line up at right-back if needed, as well as his usual position at the heart of the defence and additional of the Frenchman to the Blues back-line unit could add further steel to the back line and give Thomas Tuchel a pleasant puzzle to solve.
The highly-rated centre back has already made 159 senior appearances to his name, experience in both the Champions League and Europa League, and represented France at Euro 2020.
Kounde is a ‘modern’ and versatile centre-back – pacey, excellent at distribution, and able to play in a back three as well as at right-back. As mentioned, it was last season when Kounde really came into his own and caught the eye of a number of top clubs across Europe.
He was the highest rated centre-back in La Liga last season according to WhoScored with a rating of 7.01 – a greater score than Raphael Varane (6.85), Jose Gimenez (6.78) and Gerard Pique (6.80).
Furthermore, within the Sevilla squad, Kounde ranked highest for passes into the final third (165), aerial duels won (118), ball recoveries (312) and interceptions (42), demonstrating the roundness of his game.
When compared to other centre-backs in Europe’s ‘top five’ leagues, Kounde ranks in the top 10% for progressive passing distance per 90 (432m), short passes completed per 90 (21.1), and pass completion rate for medium passes per 90 (95.8%).
Jules Kounde is most comfortable at right centre-back and often likes to stride forward with the ball to break opposition lines. His 1.24 dribbles completed per 90 is in the top 2% for European centre-backs.
Impressively, across 2019/20, Kounde ranked higher than Virgil van Dijk for dribblers tackled per 90, possession won per 90, successful pressures per 90, and non-penalty expected goals per 90.
Jules Kounde is a seriously exciting defensive prospect, and would offset the recent sales of Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi to AC Milan and Crystal Palace, respectively.