Thomas Tuchel was able to bolster his forward line during the transfer window with the addition of Romelu Lukaku, while Chelsea’s midfield options were enhanced following the deadline day arrival of Spain international midfielder Saul Niguez on a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid.
The Chelsea manager’s attempts to strengthen his defence, however, were frustrated by Sevilla who dug their heels in and refused to sanction Kounde’s departure despite a deal having been virtually agreed.
According to ESPN, the Spanish club shifted the goalposts once Chelsea had agreed to let Kurt Zouma join West Ham for £25m and were insistent on the Champions League holders paying Kounde’s €80m release clause in full.
Chelsea are currently reliant on Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and the emerging Trevor Chalobah to occupy the central defensive slots in Tuchel’s preferred formation.
Reece James would be able to cover should one of that quartet suffer injury between now and January, when Chelsea will look to tempt Sevilla again, although they remain reluctant to meet his buyout clause.
Kounde, for his part, remains keen on a move to Stamford Bridge where he feels he would quickly be able to establish himself as a key part of Tuchel’s first team plans.
Chelsea, meanwhile, resume their Premier League campaign against Aston Villa this weekend having collected seven points from their opening three games, including a creditable 1-1 draw at Anfield during which they spent the second half playing with 10 men.
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