Watch Chelsea this season and compare it to last seasons defensive solidity, and it is clear something has changed. A club that has was built on being solid under Thomas Tuchel has become more sieve-like this year, with goals conceded of varying quality. Last year, it felt like a team had to really put together a fine move and score a goal worth conceding. This year, though, Blues fans have grown sick and tired of seeing goal after goal go in that, really, should have been avoided.
While these kinds of lapses usually see the manager bulleted at Stamford Bridge, it sounds like this summer will see a player revamp as opposed to a coaching change. Defensive upgrades are seen as essential, and it is believed that Chelsea are making fine progress on the arrival of one marquee defensive addition in Jules Koundé.
The player was long linked in the summer, but a fee in excess of £70m was simply too much to manage. However, with the fee believed to be a much more manageable £50m this summer, Chelsea are keen to ensure they do not miss out on a key target. The Sevilla defender has long shown himself to be among the very best young defenders in world football, and would provide a player that could be built around for years to come.
Young, fast, technically sound, and adaptable – Koundé would be a foundational piece for Tuchel and beyond. Though some might hope to see the player arrive this window, it is highly unlikely that Sevilla will sell. The Andalusians are involved in a title fight with Madrid, and are unlikely to move on from either Koundé or partner Diego Carlos in this winter window.
And if one is sold, it will certainly be the latter as opposed to the former.
Timo Werner style agreement could be put in place
Reports in Spain suggest that Chelsea are keen to agree a fee and deal with Sevilla for the player to leave in the summer. This would see Koundé move on from Sevilla at the end of the season, with the deal agreed now as opposed to a bidding war in the summer.
Chelsea are keen to move now to help secure the player and avoid a bidding war in the summer. Should Sevilla do the impossible and win the league title, it would likely mean that Koundé would be back much closer to the huge sums that were being asked of him in the summer of 2021. Move now, secure the deal, though, and Chelsea are more than likely to keep themselves with extra money to spend in the summer of 2022.
With Koundé highly regarded as the best central defender in Spain, the 23-year-old would provide Chelsea with a long-term building block to work with. However, having missed out on a key target last summer, it looks like Chelsea will do everything they can to avoid a similar fate this year.