Chelsea have chance to sign star better than Jules Kounde to complete Thomas Tuchel’s XI

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Chelsea sold Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi in order to fund a bid for Jules Kounde over the summer – but a last-minute snag caused a move to break down. And they now have a high-class defender they could sign instead of the Frenchman in the summer of 2022.

The Blues were expected to go back in for Kounde after a move broke down with the Andalusian club.

But in a new twist, former Chelsea target Matthijs de Ligt is reported to have a release clause of £128.6million (€150m) that is valid from next summer – sparking rumours about a move to west London.

Fabrizio Romano broke the news on Twitter on Monday as Chelsea fans went into a frenzy over an old centre-back link.

And when coupled with agent Mino Raiola’s comments last month about the defender, there is every reason to believe De Ligt may move in the future.

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“De Ligt has a contract while Romagnoli’s deal expires next year,” Raiola said to Calciomercato.

“Yes, I think they could play together at Juventus next year – but be careful because De Ligt could also leave Juventus at the end of the season.

“This is how the market works, there are many clubs who are interested in his services.”

Many were interested in De Ligt’s services whilst he was at Ajax.

Winner of the 2018 Golden Boy award, De Ligt became a much-coveted player across the continent before Juve snapped him up for a fee of £75m.

Having won Serie A in 2019-20 and the Coppa Italia last season, the Dutchman has hit the ground running in Turin.

But with Juventus faltering this season and losing a big star in Cristiano Ronaldo, De Ligt may be looking for a new challenge.

And with Chelsea challenging for the Premier League and being the holders of the Champions League title, there aren’t many more interesting propositions for De Ligt to consider.

De Ligt is a better player than Kounde with more experience in continental competitions, international competitions and honours to his name.

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But for double the price, Chelsea chiefs will seriously have to consider whether a deal is worth it for De Ligt before making the plunge.

With Thiago Silva ageing and Antonio Rudiger in the last year of his contract, there is a real need to bring youth into the club.

And De Ligt could be the new defensive leader lacking at Stamford Bridge who could be an even better option than Kounde, even though he would be expensive.

But putting in big money for the right player can be key, as Romelu Lukaku’s success in west London is showing.

At just 22 himself, Netherlands international De Ligt still has a long career ahead of him, and Tuchel’s Chelsea could provide the perfect platform for him to truly cement himself as one of the best defenders in the world.

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