FIFA invoke five-day ban ruling out eight Premier League stars for weekend's games
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Chelsea were left frustrated by Sevilla’s approach to negotiating a transfer fee for Jules Kounde last month, according to reports. The 22-year-old was heavily pursued by the Blues during the latter stages of the window, but ultimately remained with Sevilla after the Spanish heavyweights decided against selling their prized asset before the all-important deadline.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was keen on bringing Kounde to Stamford Bridge to strengthen his defensive ranks in advance of a renewed Premier League title challenge.
The Frenchman has established himself as one of Europe’s finest young centre-backs since joining Sevilla from Bordeaux in the summer of 2019.
He made 49 appearances in all competitions last season, with his composed range of passing and quick turn of pace often catching the eye.
Kounde was rewarded for his strong form with a place in the France squad for Euro 2020, with the defender making his only appearance at the tournament against Portugal in the group stages.
Chelsea pushed hard to land Kounde during the final month of the transfer window but were left empty-handed by Sevilla, who changed their demands at the last second to end any hopes of a late switch.
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Those in west London were ‘left bemused’ by the situation due to Sevilla’s unorthodox approach to negotiations, according to ESPN.
It is claimed that Chelsea had all but agreed a deal to sign Kounde for a transfer fee in the region of £43million plus add-ons.
The player himself had also settled on personal terms before Sevilla changed their stance by demanding that his release clause, believed to be in the region of £77m, was paid in full.
Their move was reportedly influenced by Chelsea’s decision to sell Kurt Zouma to West Ham United, as it meant the Blues had additional funds and extra motivation to bring in a new central defender.
Although Sevilla were reluctant to part ways with Kounde last month, he is still keen on the idea of joining Chelsea and could push for a departure when the January transfer window rolls around.
The European champions have not dropped their interest in a move and would be willing to return to the table if Sevilla are prepared to reduce their asking price.
Meanwhile, Tuchel recently declared that he was satisfied with the strength of his current squad in spite of Chelsea’s inability to land Kounde during the summer window.
“I am absolutely happy with our squad and the alternatives we have,” the 48-year-old told reporters at the end of last month.
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“That means we maybe don’t have the biggest squad but that we have a very competitive squad in all positions. This, on one hand, is necessary because we play a lot of competitions and we play the Club World Cup in December.
“We also played very long last season and there was the Euros and Copa America. So if we want to compete we need this level.
“But at the same time, it’s also important we’re a strong group, this was maybe the key for the last half a year. We played with a strong bond and a great team spirit.
“This is a challenge for the team and for me to create this atmosphere again and that everybody is ready to take hard decisions and keep pushing the team.”
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