Chelsea have been warned about Jules Kounde’s height and how he may adapt to playing in the Premier League. The Blues are expected to complete a deal to secure their long-term target this summer with Sevilla now more open to selling.
football.london understands that personal terms with the 23-year-old have been agreed for some time now, but Chelsea are yet to launch an official bid for the defender. Either way, the Blues are set to step up their pursuit of Kounde in the coming weeks with the summer transfer window now officially open.
Defense is an area that is a priority for Thomas Tuchel following the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. Kounde is Chelsea’s main defensive target, while also having an eye on several other center-backs, so what can he offer the Blues? football.london spoke exclusively to Spanish football expert Sid Lowe, who has watched Kounde in the flesh on several occasions in recent times.
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“I think Kounde is a wonderful footballer,” Lowe said in a chat with football.london“You get a defender who reads the game well, who’s good at the defensive stuff as well.”
“Part of the issue might be how exactly you want to satisfy him because he wants to play the game. He sometimes has this –what appears to be –a free role from centre-back.
“He loves to come out, he uses the ball really well, he very much seems to enjoy playing and he defends very well as well. I don’t think he’s a modern center-back, certainly from a Spanish point of view, in the sense of the obsession of bringing the ball out from the back, although he can absolutely do that.
“He likes to carry the ball out from the back rather than being the passer. So for example, he’s not the same as Pau Torres, or Gerard Pique. I’ve watched a lot of games this season from right behind the goal and every time I’ve been really impressed with his ability to take the ball in compromising positions, to run his way out if he gets put under too much pressure. Physically, he’s very good and technically, I think he’s excellent. “
Standing at 5ft 10in (as per Wikipedia), Kounde isn’t exactly the tallest center-back. The Premier League is renowned for being a physical league when it comes to pumping the ball into the box and looking for big strikers to get on the end of it. However, this has changed somewhat over the last 10 years or so.
Either way, the France international would face a completely different challenge should he move to England. It’s one that will be new to him, but one Lowe is really interested in witnessing.
“I suppose the only concern for him might be, as center-backs go, certainly in the Premier League, he’s not very big,” he added. “That said, he’s a good athlete and can jump high. He wins his fair share of headers, but not loads.
“It will be interesting to see him in a much more frontal game, when the ball is in the air more, it’s much more into the box, it’s not so much about sweeping things up, tidying, as being confronted by the ball coming to I think he does these things that really stand out –his dribbling out from the back, his willingness to use the ball, and so on. He manages to do them, even though they’re things that stand out, with them not being so showy, without it feeling like he’s making a fuss. “