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Chelsea’s pursuit of Jules Koundé ‘stalls’ amid Kurt Zouma uncertainty — reports

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France Portraits - UEFA Euro 2020 Photo by Aurelien Meunier - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Chelsea’s pursuit of Jules Koundé was supposed to “accelerate” during this week’s final countdown, but all it seems to be doing is slowing down, perhaps even “stalling”, as the Guardian puts it.

The main reasons for that — beyond the part where transfers almost always take longer than the never-ending deluge of breathless rumors lead us to believe — appear to be the uncertainty surrounding Kurt Zouma’s situation, and, to a lesser extend, Chelsea’s financial situation where the priority may be to spend big on striker first and center back second.

While Zouma remains the most likely to leave and free up space in the squad for Koundé, the 26-year-old isn’t likely to be part of the deal directly (i.e. in part-exchange) and his rumored move to West Ham looks to be definitely off, with the Hammers unwilling to meet our £25m asking price. Zouma himself is reportedly not especially keen on the move, due to disagreements over personal terms. A bit of a double whammy then, which is only making Chelsea more reticent about spending €60-80m on Koundé (and we certainly would want the lower end of that range, with Seville of course eyeing the higher end).

So, no bid and no transfer, yet. Should we overcome this hurdle, personal terms with Koundé are not expected to pose a challenge and may have already been agreed in principle anyway. Should we fail to overcome this hurdle, Zouma is said to be happy to stay as well while Trevoh Chalobah has been impressing in preseason to give us another young and highly promising (and homegrown!) option.