football

Jules Kounde deal stalls as Chelsea star Kurt Zouma rejects transfer away


Kounde is a wanted man (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea’s hopes of landing Jules Kounde hit a snag after Kurt Zouma rejected a move to West Ham.

Kounde is at the top of Thomas Tuchel’s wishlist as the Blues push for a new defender to arrive at Stamford Bridge this summer.

The France international has a £68million release clause, but Chelsea are unwilling to pay that full amount.

Sevilla are still haggling over a price, holding out for around £51m.

Chelsea tried to include Zouma in the deal to sign Kounde but Sevilla rejected their £30m valuation of the centre-half because they are not convinced by the 26-year-old’s resale value.

Zouma had turned down a move to West Ham (Picture: AFP via Getty)

Tuchel has been told he has to offload a centre-back before he signs one, with Thiago Silva, Zouma, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen all specialists in the position, while Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James can operate on the right side of a back-three.

Zouma has fallen down the pecking order and the most likely to be shown the door.

However, he has turned down one option and refused to sign for West Ham, according to The Guardian.

West Ham had held talks with Chelsea over a fee but after being told that Zouma wasn’t interested, they have now moved on to other targets.

Chelsea have also offered Kenedy and Emerson Palmieri to Sevilla in an attempt to sweeten the deal and hope to create space in their squad to sign Kounde.

Meanwhile, their priority remains at the other end of the pitch with a fresh bid being prepared for former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.

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