top target Chelsea may be finally closing in on a deal for long-term transfer target Jules Kounde
He has been at the top of Chelsea's list of transfer targets for the last few months and now it appears the wheels are in motion for Sevilla's Jules Kounde to move to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's big-money offer for the 23-year-old French international defender was rejected last summer, with Sevilla insisting they wanted the deal finalised before their deadline.
When that moment passed, they refused to consider a cut-price sale of Kounde, but Chelsea's interest in the player has not waned and now it seems a deal could be close.
Reports in Spain suggest Chelsea have made their intentions over Kounde clear to Sevilla, but it appears the move will not take place in this month's transfer window.
Instead, Chelsea are looking to reach an agreement that will see Kounde come to Chelsea next summer, when the Blues are looking to add some fresh faces to their squad.
Chelsea insiders have suggested that manager Thomas Tuchel is satisfied with the squad he is working with this season and was not pushing to make major signing in this month's transfer window.
There is a desire to off-load fringe players before the end of January, but any major investment in new signings is expected to come next summer.
By then, Chelsea will have resolved the futures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, with both defenders yet to commit to new contracts at the club.
There is increasing hope that Rudiger will stay after he suggested last week he and his family are happy at Chelsea, but Christensen's future looks less certain.
Chelsea insiders have suggested they will look to add "two or three players" to the first team squad next summer, with Kounde clearly one of the leading names on their wishlist.
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