Chelsea 3-1 Southampton: Picture highlights
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Chelsea will be pained to learn that Sevilla turned down their summer bid for defender Jules Kounde despite the fact that his sale would have wiped out all of the Spanish side’s debt. The COVID-19 pandemic had left many clubs financially in tatters, but it was still not enough to tempt Sevilla into letting the youngster join the Champions League holders.
The Blues submitted a £42.5million bid for Kounde during the summer, but Sevilla were not interested in selling at that price.
Their reluctance to play ball should have come as no surprise, given Manchester City prepared an even bigger offer the year before but also made no headway.
Towards deadline day it emerged that Kounde’s £68m release clause was the asking price, and Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia decided not to pursue the Frenchman.
Incredibly, even the smaller bid would have cleared Sevilla’s debts during a time of financial uncertainty.
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Club president Jose Castro told Diario de Sevilla: “We are the second team with the highest salary cap capacity.
“It is clear to that we are coming out of a pandemic, and this year, there was no other option but to give a negative financial result.
“There have been no season tickets, no tickets and no bars. Marketing and television have suffered.
“Even so, with Chelsea’s offer of £42.5m, the deficit was over. That speaks of the strength of the club.
“I don’t know how many teams in Spain would say no to £42.5m from Chelsea and maintain this deficit, considering that the squad is worth £350m.”
Sevilla obviously came to their tough decision because of two fundamental beliefs.
Firstly, they could not do without the 22-year-old centre-back for the season ahead, particularly given they had little time to venture back into the market and find a replacement.
But perhaps more importantly, they could get an even bigger price for him in the future.
Playing regular Champions League football as he is this campaign, coupled with his recent Nations League triumph with France, Kounde is impressing on the biggest stages of all and sooner or later someone will pull the trigger on his release clause.
All in all, the situation shows that Chelsea cannot field low-ball offers if they are serious about signing him in the future.
Whether they will have another pop in January remains to be seen, although the unexpected emergence of Trevoh Chalobah could make manager Thomas Tuchel’s centre-back search less urgent.
Sevilla can be stubborn when they want to be, and it is blindingly obvious that they will not give up Kounde without a fight.
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