Jules Kounde now seems set to join Barcelona. (Photo: Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has doubts about whether Sevilla defender Jules Kounde can succeed in the Premier League due to his height, with the defender set to join Barcelona instead of the Blues.
The 5ft 10in centre-back has attracted interest from both clubs this summer but no seems set to swap Andalusia for Catalonia and remain in La Liga. The Guardian reports that the France international’s meagre stature concerns Tuchel, who is in the market for new centre-back options in order to reinforce his defence ahead of the new season.
Though Kounde’s move to Stamford Bridge seemed nigh on sealed in the middle of last week, Barcelona stepped up their interest over the week and are now favourites to secure his signature, the report adds.
The Blues currently have four recognised first-team centre-back options, with Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly having been signed from Napoli in order to support Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah.
But with Tuchel having employed his traditional 3-4-1-2 system since arriving at Chelsea at the beginning of 2021, using it to make the Blues European and world champions, the German believes he requires another defender who can play on the left of the central three.
‘We are looking for guys who can play on the left side,’ Tuchel told chelseafc.com during Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the USA, where they lost 4-0 to Arsenal on Sunday.
‘Toni [Rudiger] played on the left side and was not a left-footed guy, so maybe Kalidou can play there because he plays in a back-four on the left side, but let’s see what is possible.
‘It is not only about bringing players in for numbers; we need numbers, we also need quality so we will make some decisions late, not only about players but also about systems. Ideally we would have a left-footer.’
Chelsea have been in discussions for a variety of potential defensive signings following the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers, the former joining Real Madrid and the latter Barcelona.
Antonio Rudiger has already joined Real Madrid this summer. (Photo: JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)
They were heavily linked with a move for Matthijs de Ligt after he made his desire to leave Juventus clear, but the Dutchman eventually opted to join Bayern Munich instead. After holding talks over a possible sale, Manchester City eventually decided to retain Nathan Ake for the upcoming season.
With Kounde increasingly likely to join Barcelona instead of moving to London, Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe remains an option.
Chelsea have also signed Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling for £45m so far this summer.
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