Chelsea have reportedly put together a plan to sign Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde even if Kurt Zouma refuses to be part of a mooted swap deal.
With Zouma seen as one of the most saleable assets in west London at the current time, there was hope that he could be used to tempt Sevilla into an agreement.
However, that now appears unlikely, with a number of differing reports suggesting that particular deal is in huge doubt.
The Mail have revealed that Zouma was considering refusing a move to the La Liga outfit, as his preference is to remain in the Premier League. Those claims have been backed up by The Athletic with it also being claimed that West Ham United were interested in his services – a move that would be preferred by the player himself.
Indeed, the Frenchman only admitted in January that he was not eyeing a transfer away from Chelsea.
When asked if he was the most settled he had ever been at Stamford Bridge in an interview with the Blues’ official website, he said: “Maybe, yeah, but I felt settled from the moment I arrived. Then I had the injury and had to go on loan, but now I feel very settled again just like I did when I joined.”
With Zouma feeling comfortable with Chelsea, that could potentially cause major problems in the Blues’ deal for Kounde.
Nevertheless, it is being reported by The Athletic that the west Londoners’ pursuit of the Frenchman is ‘incessant’ and that a deal could be done sooner rather than later even without Zouma acting as a makeweight in his compatriot’s arrival.
Chelsea have apparently already explored the prospect of alternative swaps, having already proposed Emerson Palmieri to Sevilla – a deal that was rejected.
Whether the Blues intend to meet Kounde’s apparent €80 million (£68 million) release clause remains to be seen but it is clear that a deal does not hinge as much on Zouma’s future as much as first perceived.
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