Who is Jules Koundé? The defender on the verge of joining Chelsea

Jules Kounde?

In terms of arrivals, Chelsea have had a relatively quiet transfer window thus far this summer, with only former Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli putting pen-to-paper on a move to Stamford Bridge.

However, things seem to be heating up in west London, and it appears to be just a matter of time before Roman Abramovich loosens his purse strings once more to fund the signings of Romelu Lukaku and Jules Koundé, who will both undoubtedly make the Blues more favourable in the online sports betting.

Lukaku will need no introduction to Chelsea fans, as this will, of course, be the second time the Belgian has pulled on the famous blue jersey of the Premier League giants. But Koundé, on the other hand, is a player the Stamford Bridge faithful might not be too familiar with. So, let’s take a look at some key things you should know about the defender as we await his unveiling.

Career to date

After around five years in their youth ranks, Koundé made his senior debut for Bordeaux in January 2018, starting in a Coupe de France match against US Granville — which ended in defeat after extra time. He made his Ligue 1 debut shortly after, a 1-0 win over Troyes, before scoring his first senior goal in a 3-2 win over Amiens a month later. After a year and a half in Les Girondins first team, Koundé moved to Seville for around €25 million. He has since made over 88 appearances for the Spanish La Liga side in the last two years, helping Los Nervionenses win the Europa League title in 2019/20.

Style of play

More of a modern-day centre-back than an old-school, hard-hitting defender, Koundé waits for the perfect moment to pounce, rather than lunging into tackles — and that is fairly reflected in the fact that he averaged just 0.8 tackles per game for Sevilla last season.

One to sit back and rarely step foot of the defensive line, the 22-year-old is often the last man back. But he has fantastic awareness of his surroundings and his pace means he is quick to close down opposition attackers in one-on-one scenarios, forcing them into mistakes or taking the ball from their feet, rather than being made to make a tackle.

He’s also good at blocking shots and crosses, whilst at 5’11”, he is surprisingly adept in the air, rarely losing ariel duals and even posing a danger from set-pieces, as proven from his six goals for Sevilla. There’s a reason why he is such a key player for Julen Lopetegui and a prime target of serval clubs, including Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

International career

Koundé was called up to the France side for Euro 2020 by Didier Deschamps back in May, and he made his debut for Les Bleus in a pre-tournament friendly against Wales — replacing Benjamin Pavard at half-time at the Allianz Riviera in Nice. The 22-year-old made just one appearance at the European Championships, starting at right-back in the 2-2 draw against Portugal in Group F. France are luckily to boast some top-class options at the back, but Koundé will be hoping that he can break into the starting XI, especially with the World Cup taking place in Qatar next winter.

What’s been said about the move?

Renowned football journalist Fabrizio Romano claims that Chelsea are ‘working to find a solution with Sevilla as possible to sign Koundé.’ He also reported that the defender is the club’s priority, with personal terms already agreed. The issue for the Blues, that is reportedly stalling the transfer, is offloading one of their current centre-backs.