Chelsea revive Koundé interest after Manchester City block Aké transfer


Chelsea have revived their interest in Sevilla’s Jules Koundé after Manchester City decided against selling Nathan Aké to Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Aké had agreed personal terms with Chelsea but City were willing to let him move to Stamford Bridge only if an asking price in the region of £45m was met. That has not happened and the decision has been made for the defender to remain in Manchester.

Aké is still viewed as an important member of Pep Guardiola’s squad but City are ready to let Oleksandr Zinchenko leave if they receive an appropriate offer. Arsenal are preparing a bid for the Ukrainian and his departure could hasten City’s move for the Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella. On Friday, City announced that Riyad Mahrez had extended his contract to 2025.

Chelsea, who want to rebuild their defence after losing Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen, were looking to make Aké one of three centre-back signings. With the £33.8m signing of Kalidou Koulibably from Napoli set to be announced, they are focusing on talks with Paris Saint-Germain over Presnel Kimpembe are expected to make a fresh attempt to sign Koundé.

Chelsea tried to buy Koundé last year, only for the deal to collapse when they refused to meet his £68.4m release clause. The France centre-back then slipped down their list this summer, with club attempting to sign Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus.

However De Ligt wants to join Bayern Munich and the collapse of the Aké deal has put Koundé back in Chelsea’s sights. The 23-year-old is on the short side for a centre-back – he is 5ft 10in – but he has a good leap and is extremely versatile. Koundé can play at right centre-back, right-back and right wing-back. If he joins it could allow Chelsea to let César Azpilicueta join Barcelona. One complication, though, is that Barça are also targeting Koundé.

Kimpembe could step into the left-sided centre-back role previously occupied by Rüdiger. Aké also plays in that position and City’s decision to keep the 27-year-old could help Chelsea hold on to Levi Colwill, the subject of interest from Crystal Palace, Southampton and Leicester.

Colwill, who impressed on loan at Huddersfield last season, can play as a left centre-back and the 19-year-old is keen to see whether he will be given first-team opportunities by Tuchel. Another young defender, Dutch left-back Ian Maatsen, has joined Burnley on loan after spending last season at Coventry.

Chelsea are also considering bringing in cover for Reece James at right wing-back. Their move for Raphinha, whose transfer to Barcelona from Leeds was announced on Friday, was partly motivated by Tuchel’s belief that he could use the Brazilian as a wing-back. An alternative option for Chelsea could be the Lens defender Jonathan Clauss.

It is a summer of change at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have strengthened their attack by signing Raheem Sterling from Manchester City and they could try to bring in another forward. However their hopes of signing Serge Gnabry have been dented by indications that the winger is poised to extend his contract with Bayern.

That could lead Tuchel to switch focus to Rafael Leão. It is believed that Milan could be willing to sell the Portugal winger if they receive a huge offer.