are at last ramping up their efforts to sign long-time target Jules Kounde with co-owner Todd Boehly making contact with his Sevilla counterparts, according to reports.
The west club have been tracking the centre-back since last summer, when they had agreed personal terms with Kounde but failed to negotiate a fee with Sevilla who were adamant he would only leave if his release clause was met.
A year late and under pressure to cash in, a £56million offer would now be accepted – but Sevilla were left bemused by a lack of communication from Chelsea regarding a deal.
Instead, the Blues have been linked with moves for the likes of star Matthijs de Ligt and Inter’s Milan Skriniar while had moved to the front of the queue for Kounde.
But now report that Boehly has finally made contact over a transfer, reaching out on Wednesday morning to begin work on a deal.
There is a feeling from all parties that the transfer will be relatively uncomplicated to complete, with Sevilla lowering their asking price since last summer and Kounde happy with the personal terms that were already agreed a year ago.
Barcelona remain in the hunt but still lack the funds to complete any transfers until the sale of part of its retail arm has gone through.
That has opened the door for Chelsea, with Sevilla keen to make the sale before July 5 – both an important date financially, as well as the day before they depart on a pre-season tour in Portugal.
Although Chelsea now have a completely new hierarchy, with Boehly acting as interim sporting director following Marina Granovskaia’s departure, they are still hoping to get Kounde for closer to the £43m price tag they offered last year.
The 23-year-old was thought to be slightly bemused by Chelsea’s initial lack of interest, particularly after their long transfer saga, but remains open to moving to west London.
Kounde is happy to accept the five-year contract offer that has been on the table for the best part of a year, though the sticking point once again is agreeing a fee with Sevilla.
Manager Thomas Tuchel is keen to add two centre-backs to his squad this summer, one to play on the right of his back three and another to play on the left, after he lost both Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger on free transfers.
De Ligt and Skriniar are two names that have been linked with moves, while the club are also working on two attacking recruits with fees believed to have been agreed for both Leeds United star Raphinha and Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling.
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