Chelsea's game of brinksmanship as they look to finalise deal for Jules Koundé
One of the last pieces of Chelsea's transfer window master plan fell into place when Kurt Zouma agreed to join West Ham on Saturday, but the final decision on whether they will sign Sevilla's Jules Koundé is still under discussion.
Chelsea officials have been chasing Koude's signature for the last couple of month, with the 22-year-old French centre-back Koundé at the top of manager Thomas Tuchel's wanted list as he looks to add fresh blood into his defensive line.
Yet despite Chelsea insiders suggesting a deal for Koundé was close to being agreed early on Sunday, it has emerged that Sevilla's asking price for the player is a major sticking point after they asked for an increase on the fee.
Chelsea had been hoping to sign Koundé for around €50million, with terms agreed on a contract with the defender who is keen to make the move to join the European champions.
With Sevilla asking for a fee of around €80million, that figure will not be paid by Chelsea officials and the talks have stalled ahead of Tuesday's transfer deadline.
Zouma's move to West Ham ensured Chelsea are currently in profit on their summer transfer trading, despite spending a club record £97.5mllion to sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan.
Chelsea's prudent approach to their transfer spending suggests they will not meet Sevilla's €80million valuation or Koundé, despite optimism from Stamford Bridge insiders that a deal will be struck ahead of Tuesday's transfer deadline.
It may need Sevilla to lower their asking price or potentially consider a deal with additional add-ons, with talks ongoing heading into Monday.
Koundé was not included in the Sevilla squad for their game against Elche on Saturday, but it remains to be seen whether he gets his wish to join Chelsea this month.