Chelsea add fourth defender to transfer wishlist after Barcelona hijacked Kounde deal
Thomas Tuchel reflects on Chelsea's pre-season defeat to Arsenal
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Chelsea have made Leicester defender Wesley Fofana their fourth centre-back transfer target as they seek to overcome the setback of being turned down by Jules Kounde, according to reports. Thomas Tuchel is desperate to strengthen his defence and has become frustrated by the lack of business the Blues have completed this summer.
Defenders are a key priority for Chelsea after losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to free transfers at the end of last season. They have signed long-term target Kalidou Koulibaly but ideally need at least one more centre-back.
Chelsea were strongly linked with Sevilla ace Kounde and apparently agreed a £55m deal for the France international. However, Kounde appears to have opted to join Barcelona, who were given an ultimatum that they must match the Premier League club’s bid.
Kounde’s decision has left Chelsea scrambling for alternatives. Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe, Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar and RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol are all rumoured to be of interest.
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According to the Daily Mail, Leicester star Fofana has now been added to their shortlist. The 21-year-old was outstanding for the Foxes before breaking his leg 12 months ago.
Fofana returned in March and featured for the remainder of the campaign, but Leicester endured a below-par season under Brendan Rodgers. Chelsea will apparently test Leicester’s resolve over the France U21 international.
Koulibaly and former Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling remain Chelsea’s only summer signings. That is despite the Blues being in desperate need of additions if they are to fend off competition from Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United for the Champions League places.
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Tuchel has sensationally insisted that Chelsea might not be ready for their Premier League opener against Frank Lampard’s Everton on August 7. His admission came after a 4-0 drubbing by Arsenal during the club’s pre-season tour of America. The German said after the game that the Gunners’ players were more ‘committed’ than his own.
“Unfortunately, it proved my point and the last week proves my point. I feel I was right when I look at the last season and at the parts of the game where we struggled and how we struggled,” Tuchel said of the lack of transfer activity. .
“We got sanctioned and players left us, we know that some players are trying to leave us, and this is where it is. We had an urgent appeal for quality players and a huge amount of quality players.
“We’ve got two quality players – that is no doubt – but we are not competitive like this and unfortunately, we could see it today.”
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