Chelsea are dealt a major blow in pursuit of Jules Kounde as France boss Didier Deschamps confirms Sevilla defender needs SURGERY to fix ‘a problem that has been going on for several months’
- Chelsea target Jules Kounde was forced off injured in France’s defeat to Croatia
- The Sevilla defender had to be withdrawn by Didier Deschamps at half-time
- Deschamps has now revealed that Kounde will have surgery on a long-term issue
Chelsea’s hopes of landing Jules Kounde have been rocked after France boss Didier Deschamps confirmed the defender will go under the knife for surgery.
Kounde lasted just 45 minutes in France’s 1-0 defeat to Croatia in the Nations League.
He was hooked at half-time and replaced by Benjamin Pavard, with Deschamps revealing afterwards that the 23-year-old needs surgery to fix a long-term ‘problem’.
‘I knew very well his physical condition today,’ Deschamps said when asked why he needed to withdraw Kounde.
‘Tomorrow [Tuesday] he will have a [surgical] intervention because he has a problem that has been going on for several months.’
News of Kounde’s imminent surgery will not have gone down well in west London, with Chelsea reportedly keen to add him to Thomas Tuchel’s squad this summer.
The 23-year-old has established himself as a regular at Sevilla and made his international debut for France last year, further elevating his stock.
Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly is set to hand Tuchel a £200million transfer budget to strengthen his squad after completing a £4.25bn takeover and Kounde has long been viewed as a priority.
Kounde wants a fresh challenge away from Sevilla, too.
Sevilla chief, Jose Maria Cruz, explained to Sporting Witness that it was not a case of ‘money’ but that Kounde wishes to play in a more competitive side.
He said: ‘Again, the player, I am sure, respects Sevilla FC. He is happy with us. In the case of Kounde, it is not a matter of money. It’s a matter of him wanting to play in a more competitive team than Sevilla.
‘I am sure he is a player that is attractive for teams like Chelsea, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and these types of teams. He wants to play in a more competitive team.’
Planned surgery – the injury and long-term problem remains unclear – may put a dampener on a switch this summer with the new season not far away.
It may push the Blues into looking at alternate targets, with Sportsmail revealing this month that Chelsea have asked about Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar.
The clubs are understood to be some distance apart on valuation for the 27-year-old but Skriniar, who has hardly missed a game since signing for Inter in 2017, appearing 215 times, may become more of a priority if Kounde is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.