Chelsea target Jules Kounde ‘has already decided’ he wants move as Man Utd also keen

Thomas Tuchel on Lewis Hamilton & Serena Williams' involvement in Chelsea's takeover

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Chelsea could be set to rekindle their interest in Jules Kounde this summer after a new report revealed that the defender ‘has already decided’ to quit Sevilla at the end of the season. Manchester United are also believed to be keeping tabs on the coveted 23-year-old ahead of a potential summer move.

The Blues were persistently linked with Kounde last summer, only for a mega-money deal to collapse. Since then, Kounde’s stock has continued to rise after a string of commanding performances in La Liga under the guidance of Sevilla chief Julen Lopetegui.

But the powerful centre-half could finally be on the move, after a new report from Marca revealed that Kounde has made his mind up over his future. The report outlines that Kounde has been lauded for his consistent performances, despite being left ‘tremendously angry’ by his failure to move on last summer. However, he is now determined to quit the club this summer after three years of progression.

And while a host of key names for Sevilla – including Diego Carlos and Marcos Acuna – have been rewarded for their form with bumper new deals, Kounde’s contract has remained untouched. It’s also claimed that the need for sales at Sevilla is now ‘gigantic’; something that could open the door for Kounde’s Premier League suitors.

Chelsea are braced for an exodus of defenders this summer, with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen both due to be free agents at the end of the season. The ongoing ownership situation at Stamford Bridge has hampered the Blues’ ability to table new deals for the duo, and Thomas Tuchel is set to be forced into the market for reinforcements.

And after Kounde was extensively tracked last summer, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Londoners choose to reignite their interest in the Frenchman. The defender could arrive as a long-term replacement for Rudiger, who has struck up a key partnership with veteran Thiago Silva since Tuchel arrived in SW6.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are set for an extensive summer rebuild in the wake of their abysmal campaign. Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was confirmed as the club’s new manager this week, and the Dutchman is set to be given the freedom to cull a host of underperforming Old Trafford stars.

Defensive issues have plagued United’s season; in the top half of the Premier League, only Newcastle (55) have conceded more than the 51 goals that United have shipped at the back.

And while club captain Harry Maguire has been scrutinised more than anybody else this year his under-par performances, a host of United’s defensive players have been woefully inadequate this term. Raphael Varane has failed to have the desired impact after he arrived from Real Madrid in a £36million deal last summer and was badly at fault for the opening goal in United’s 3-1 defeat against Arsenal on Saturday.

Although United’s shoddy defensive record is a real cause for concern, Ten Hag’s arrival should spark an improvement at the back. Ajax currently boast the leanest defence in the Eredivisie under Ten Hag’s guidance; conceding just 15 goals in their 30 league games this year.

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