Lukaku returning to Chelsea 'to prove people wrong'
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Sevilla will sell Chelsea transfer target Jules Kounde if an acceptable bid is tabled for the defender, the club’s sporting director Monchi has conceded.
The Blues have reportedly been in discussions with the La Liga side over the Frenchman but are yet to make a formal offer.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel wants a new centre-back and a striker signed this summer to help elevate his side back among the contenders for the Premier League title.
Tuchel will get his wish for the latter role when Chelsea confirm the imminent return of Romelu Lukaku, who is set to sign after the club agreed a £97.5million deal with Inter Milan.
Attention will likely turn to a new defender next, with Kounde believed to be a top target.
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However, Monchi has revealed that no offer has been made for the 22-year-old, despite conflicting reports.
Kounde has a £68m release clause in his Sevilla contract and will be sold if a suitable bid is made.
“Many clubs have asked for Kounde,” Monchi said.
“Of course, there’s interest but no official offer is on the table.
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“I don’t know what’s going to happen. We will sell if an important bid arrives, this is our policy to improve the team.”
The Evening Standard has reported that both clubs have spoken about a possible transfer but insist that Chelsea are unwilling to match Kounde’s release clause.
The Champions League winners instead prefer a part-exchange deal, which will include a player heading in the opposite direction.
Kurt Zouma has been suggested as a possible candidate to move to Sevilla after rejecting an offer from West Ham.
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Chelsea wanted the 26-year-old to join the Hammers to free a squad space for Kounde.
Zouma turned down the offer but might be tempted by Champions League football with Sevilla.
Kounde’s possible arrival would be one of just a few changes made by Tuchel this summer.
The German replaced Frank Lampard in January and guided Chelsea from ninth to fourth in the Premier League before sensationally winning the Champions League final.
Their European success provided evidence that the West Londoners are not far off competing with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United in the top-flight.
Lukaku’s return, 10 years after he first joined the club, will provide Tuchel with the elite striker that he lacked last term.
The Belgian has excelled for Inter since arriving from Manchester United in the summer of 2019.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo outscored Lukaku as the 28-year-old helped the Nerazzurri win Serie A for the first time since 2010 in 2020-21.
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