Jules Kounde – one name Chelsea fans have aggregated to a feeling of disappointment.
The Sevilla defender had been on Chelsea’s lips for long parts of the year, emerging as a potential signing for the team as far back as January.
With contractual difficulties faced early in negotiating contracts for Antoni Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, two senior centre backs in the team, Chelsea were looking towards Kounde as potential reinforcement.
Then the Ukraine and Russia tension.
Roman Abramovich was forced to sell Chelsea after being pinpointed as a major player in Russia’s presence in Ukraine. The result is a takeover by Todd Boehly, who hasn’t convinced Chelsea fans, unlike his predecessor who is known for this penchant to spend.
Barcelona Nemesis – Raphinha, then Kounde
Chelsea emerged as early favourites for former Leeds winger, Raphinha until Barcelona emerged with an interest. At the mention of Camp Nou and the history of one of the biggest football entities in the world, heads turn.
Raphinha’s desire to team up with Chelsea paled as soon as Barcelona looked ready to bring him to Spain. The rest they say is history.
Like the Brazilian, Kounde looked to be a potential new signing at Stamford Bridge until Barcelona entered the fray. He looked ready for the switch but reported, albeit failed interests in Nathan Ake and Mathias De Ligt turned the Frenchman’s attention completely to Barcelona.
But it’s not all gloom yet for the Blues as they prepare for the resumption of the Premier League with senior players lacking in the centre-half position.
At the moment, Chelsea have a mixture of the experienced and brilliant 37-year-old Thiago Silva and 32-year-old new signing Kalidou Koulibaly – and Malanga Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah, both 23, and relatively not as experienced.
While Chalobah has looked decent on some days and can be a real deal if given opportunities in a good environment, the pressure on Chelsea makes that risk a difficult proposition.
Fofana to the rescue?
Wesley Fofana missed a large part of last season due to injuries after suffering a fracture in a preseason game against Villarreal. When he came back with a few matches to the end, it was clear as day why the Foxes defence lacked a killer bite all season.
Recent reports have linked Chelsea with Fofana and with his ability and level of experience, his acquisition will be decent business for the Blues but it’s not expected to come without an arm and a leg.
Fofana combines the refined modern-day defending with the agelong ruggedness and stick-it-all-in style. While he has looked to put his fracture behind and has regained full fitness, Leicester will play hardball as they’ll be looking to retain their best defender.
With good experience in the Premier League and a potential bigger than the current period, an interest will turn Fofana’s head. He will also see it as a great chance to team up with the French national team setup.
Fofana presents a healthy chance for Chelsea and such business will be considered good enough for Thomas Tuchel. Other targets have been outlined and the clock is ticking for the Blues.