Chelsea have been dealt another blow to their hopes of signing Jules Kounde with France managet Didier Deschamps revealing that the defender requires surgery on a long-term injury issue.
The 23-year-old started Les Bleus’ UEFA Nations League defeat at home to Croatia on Monday, lining up out of position at right-back.
But he was subbed off at half-time of the game, having also been an unused substitute in France’s previous two matches this month, and Deschamps said afterwards that it was not a tactical decision.
Kounde has actually been struggling with an injury issue for several months but elected to postpone surgery until after France’s latest round of games, but will now go under the knife.
‘I knew very well his physical condition today,’ said Deschamps when asked about Kounde and the decision to sub him off.
‘Tomorrow [Tuesday] he will have a [surgical] intervention because he has a problem that has been going on for several months.’
Deschamps did not elaborate on the extent of Kounde’s injury or how long the Sevilla player will be out for.
But, even if it is only minor surgery, the revelation adds another issue for Chelsea who are desperate to sign the Frenchman to improve their back-line.
The Blues are losing Christensen and Antonio Rudiger on free transfers when their contracts expire at the end of the month and Tuchel has been targeting Kounde for the right-sided centre-back role.
But, just as was the case last summer, Sevilla are playing hardball over a fee for the player and will not accept anything less than €65m (£55.6m).