Jules Kounde wants to team up with Koulibaly as Chelsea closes in on £51m transfer

Jules Kounde is excited at the prospect of teaming up with Kalidou Koulibaly at Chelsea as Todd Boehly looks to beat Barcelona to a £51m transfer deal for the Sevilla player in the coming days.

Thomas Tuchel has been forced to shake-up his defence at Stamford Bridge after Antonio Rudiger and Christensen decided to leave and join Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

There could yet be more departures from the club’s back-line, with Barca looking to sign Blues skipper Cesar Azpilicueta before the window closes and Marcos Alonso keen to return to Spain after six years.

Chelsea have already spent around £33m to sign Koulibaly from Napoli but Tuchel knows more reinforcements are needed if the club are to make up ground on Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.

Tuchel has identified Sevilla defender Kounde as a top target and Chelsea are hopeful of agreeing a deal for the highly-rated defender this week, according to CBS Sports.

Sevilla want up to 60m euros (£51m) for Kounde and are privately hoping Barcelona start a bidding war with Chelsea, with Xavi a known admirer.

But Chelsea appear to be leading the race with Kounde reportedly excited at the opportunity to form a partnership with Koulibaly in London.

Koulibaly has established himself as one of the best defenders in Italy over the past decade and CBS claim Kounde is keen to get the chance to learn from him.

New Chelsea owner Boehly made England winger Raheem Sterling his first signing since taking over the club, with Koulibaly arriving through the doors shortly after.

‘I’m very happy with him signing and joining our team,’ Chelsea manager Tuchel said of Koulibaly this week.

‘He’s now the second signing of the summer and again we have a strong player, a strong personality with big experience. From our point of view, he’s a perfect addition to the group.’

Asked if he expected more arrivals this summer, Tuchel added: ‘We’re working on more numbers.

‘Everybody is wishing to have the complete team in pre-season but this almost never happens. We’re working on it as fast as possible but at the same time we’re relaxed.

‘We know what we have to offer and we’re also focused on the players who are here because in general that’s the most important.’

The Blues finished third in the Premier League last campaign and kick-start their 2022-23 season against Frank Lampard’s Everton on August 6.

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