Chelsea fans woke up to some more fantastic news on Wednesday as the UK Government announced it had granted the club its sale license, writes the Pride of London. In addition to the statement made by the Premier League on Tuesday about Todd Boehly passing the league’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test, these updates mean the Blues are getting closer and closer to a sale. It’s important the sale gets over the line by the May 31 deadline set by the government, which should be no issue now, so that Chelsea can get back to operating business as usual.
It’s been more than two months since the Blues were sanctioned by the government, which drastically limited their ability to do business on a day-to-day basis. Once the takeover is officially completed, all of the focus will turn to the transfer market. Boehly is said to be giving Marina Granovskaia and Thomas Tuchel around £200 million to play with in the transfer market in order to rebuild the squad. The Chelsea boss is wasting no time getting down to business either as the club is in a position to announce its first signing shortly after the sale goes through.
Jules Kounde is set to become Boehly’s first signing as the new owner. The French centerhalf has been linked with the Blues for around a year after Tuchel identified his as a target last summer. Negotiations with Sevilla unfortunately didn’t go as planned, but Chelsea’s commitment to the player has become apparent throughout the year as it’s continued to court the centerback. Kounde agreed to personal terms last summer with the club, and he’s keen on making the switch. Sevilla has also accepted the reality that it cannot hold onto Kounde forever. The Spanish club wants to get the deal done with early in the transfer window so it has enough time to secure a replacement.
Meanwhile, Kounde will be the first replacement signing through the door at Stamford Bridge in what’s expected to be a big summer. The 23-year-old had a brilliant season for the Rojiblancos as he found his way onto SofaScore’s 2021/22 La Liga Team of the Season. He looks to have an important part to play with Chelsea next year, and a full preseason will allow him to get accustomed to his new club before a debut campaign that’s sure to be eventful.
It feels a bit unfair to label Kounde a replacement signing given he’s one of the best young centerbacks in world football right now, but that’s exactly what he’ll be at Chelsea. Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger have both played their last games for the Blues, while Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta face uncertain futures. There will be a defensive retooling at Stamford Bridge this summer and Kounde has an important role to play in the rebuild.
Unfortunately for curious fans, the commitment to the French international does not give anything away in regards to the formation Tuchel wants to play next season. Kounde is capable of playing in either a back three or a back four in numerous positions. In a back three, his skillset is best suited for the “Azpilicueta role” as a short, solid right centerback. He’s also a right centerback in a back four, but he’s capable of playing as a fullback, as well. Kounde’s exceptional at carrying the ball and distribution, making him a mouthwatering defensive prospect for Tuchel to have at his disposal.
Overall, Kounde’s imminent signing makes for an exciting splash to kick off the Boehly era. It’s been a long few months for Chelsea fans as they’ve watched their rivals strengthen their teams while sitting helplessly on the sideline. Kounde may not be the most exciting or flashy addition, he’s an excellent and necessary one nonetheless.