Pundit Noel Whelan claims Chelsea will have to pay what Sevilla wants to sign defender Jules Kounde.
The 23-year-old has played 32 league games for the Spanish club to help them have the meanest defence in La Liga last season, only conceding 30 goals.
His partner at the back Diego Carlos has been very complimentary of the France international, suggesting that “he can play for great European clubs”.
“Yes, he has quality and he can play for great European clubs.
“He is a young player who can still improve over time, he has got great qualities, he is very strong and I am sure he can play for a big club as a great defender.”
However, any potential transfer this summer has been impacted by Carlos himself leaving Sevilla, recently moving to Aston Villa in a £26m deal.
There have been reports saying that Kounde will only be allowed to leave if the €80m (£68m) release clause is met, something Whelan believes Chelsea should pay.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said:
“The player is only as valuable as what the selling club are asking for.
“If you’re Sevilla, why wouldn’t you try and use that as a bargaining chip? If Chelsea don’t want to match the release clause, they keep the player. They’ve already lost one key defender after all.
“In this day and age, if you really want a player – as Chelsea do – you have to pay the release clause. He’s under contract, and there’s no rush to sell.
“If Chelsea are desperate – which we know they are – they’ve got to see this as a long-term replacement and a huge investment.”
Our thoughts on Whelan’s Kounde claims…
We know from experience that Sevilla are not bluffing. They demanded that the Blues pay the release clause last year when there was interest, and rejected what they called an “unsatisfactory” deadline-day offer.
The Paris-born centre back’s contract expires in 2024, so there is still no rush for Sevilla to reduce the price.
If Kounde does make the move to Stamford Bridge this summer though, Thomas Tuchel can be assured that they are getting a quality player for the money.
The former Bordeaux defender, dubbed “pretty special” by LaLiga expert Euan McTear, is in the top 5% for La Liga centre backs in passes, dribbles, and shot-creating actions per 90 minutes, and only Carlos can top his WhoScored rating of 6.92 is the second-highest at Sevilla.
Considering Chelsea’s lack of depth at the back, with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leaving the club, it is worth paying the release clause for the £54m-rated “absolute baller“.
AND in other news, Tuchel could seal ideal Rudiger replacement at Chelsea with “special” £54m-rated gem…