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Double development sees Tuchel doubts surface over Chelsea transfer that could spark late U-Turn

Chelsea have not given up hope of securing a blockbuster signing at centre-half this summer, though a Blues player has led Thomas Tuchel to question whether it is required, per a report.

Chelsea smashed their club-record transfer fee when bringing Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge for £97.5m. The Blues are expected to be in the thick of the title race this season, with their squad now lacking any obvious weaknesses.

Nevertheless, reports over the summer have put them in the frame to land Sevilla centre-back, Jules Kounde.

The French international, 22, reportedly holds a £77m release clause within his contract. That figure had been £68m, though the Daily Star reported it had increased after entering the final fortnight of the window.

Chelsea are understood to already have an agreement in place over personal terms. The issue remains the transfer fee with Sevilla reluctant to sell for less than Kounde’s release fee.

Now, the Daily Express (citing Football London) reveal Chelsea remain hard at work on the deal. They reportedly retain hope of making a breakthrough ‘in the coming days’. However, two developments could prevent a deal from being struck.

Firstly, the inability to shift Kurt Zouma will likely hamper any progress from being made. Zouma had initially been touted as a possible makeweight to sweeten the deal, but is believed to prefer to remain in England where he is settled.

West Ham registered interest as David Moyes seeks to bolster his ranks ahead of juggling a tricky Europa League campaign. But Chelsea’s £25m valuation has put the Hammers off.

Secondly, Tuchel himself is reportedly having doubts as to whether a Kounde transfer is necessary.

That stems from the emergence of Trevor Chalobah who has taken his chance with both hands this season. The 22-year-old has impressed so much that Sky Sports reveal he is in line for a new contract.

As such, seeing Kounde at Stamford Bridge next season is looking an increasingly unlikely scenario despite Chelsea’s lengthy pursuit.

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Chelsea make fresh contact with Man Utd target

Meanwhile, Chelsea have held another round of discussions with the representatives of Aurelien Tchouameni following Manchester United transfer interest, a report claims.

According to the latest from Chelsea journalist Simon Phillips, the Blues have initiated fresh contact over Tchouameni.

However, the reporter does not say whether those talks were fruitful, or whether Chelsea’s interest remains at the same stage.

The France under-21 international has a contract with Monaco until 2024. Juventus were also keen, but they have signed Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo in a similar position.

United’s interest reportedly sees them eye Tchouameni as a potential Pogba successor. Journalist Duncan Castles said: “If they have that space in their squad created by Pogba, then Tchouameni is one of the options to replace.

“He would be cheaper than options like Declan Rice, who has been mentioned as an option for them. I’m told Monaco value him at around €40m [£34million].”

READ MORE: Chelsea exit door swung open once more as next departure is confirmed

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