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Chelsea open defender talks

Chelsea have begun talks with Spanish side Sevilla over a possible deal for French defender Jules Koundé.

The 22-year old, widely considered one of the best defenders in La Liga, has a release clause of £68.4 million. He is reported to be receptive to a move to the Premier League, and wants to play in the Champions League next season.

Negotiations have commenced, although indications are that Chelsea are not prepared to pay the release clause, counting on the fact that Sevilla are facing financial problems and need the money.

Manchester United were also interested in signing him, but Chelsea have made the first move, and their rivals have since reached an agreement to sign Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.

Koundé joined the Spanish team from Bordeaux in 2019 an immediately broke into their first-team squad. Primarily a central defender, he was pressed into emergency service by France during the Euros recently.

There have been suggestions that Kurt Zouma could be used as a makeweight as part of any deal.

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