Comment: Jules Kounde Deal Shows Chelsea’s Transfer Activity Continues to Be A Model of Efficiency
Chelsea continue to be effective operators in the market.
According to reports from Gianluca Di Marzio, Chelsea are on the brink of concluding a deal for Sevilla’s 22-year-old French centre-back Jules Kounde, for a fee of roughly £43 million.
At the same time Kurt Zouma, a Chelsea player since 2014, has agreed a five-year deal with fellow Londoners West Ham – the Hammers paying roughly £25.8 million for the defender’s services.
Kounde is on the brink of becoming Chelsea’s third summer arrival
Therefore, Chelsea are effectively paying £17 million for a substantial upgrade in quality in defence, bolstering the strength of the starting eleven and building upon the strengths of May’s Champions League victory. With experience in the Champions League and on the international , Kounde is considered an elite defensive talent – versatile, strong, pacey, and reliable in defence.
This level of efficiency in the market is very much a Chelsea thing, and not just this window. Last summer, the Blues negotiated significant discounts from original quoted fees for several of their targets. Kai Havertz was originally priced at over £100 million by Bayer Leverkusen, before director Marina Granovskaia negotiated a final price of just over £72 million later in the window.
Similarly, Leicester demanded a fee of £80 million for Ben Chilwell, equaling the sum they received for Harry Maguire, before Marina whittled the price down to £50 million later in the window.
Chelsea negotiated discounts of over £60 million for Chilwell and Havertz last summer
With Kounde’s Sevilla release clause standing at £77 million, Chelsea have essentially negotiated a massive reduction in expenditure – these funds can be redirected towards strengthening in other areas of the squad before the transfer window closes next week, such as in midfield.
Chelsea’s efficiency in the window can be clearly exemplified through the club’s net spend this summer. After spending £97.5 million on reacquiring Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan, the club have ensured maximum value from sales to compensate for this.
The club have generated £130 million from sales this summer (including the Zouma fee) – with Tammy Abraham’s £34 million move to Roma, Fikayo Tomori’s £25 million permanent transfer to AC Milan, and Marc Guehi’s £18 million move to Crystal Palace comprising the bulk of this.
Marc Guehi was sold for £18 million this summer despite not making a senior appearance for Chelsea
Upon the completion of the Kounde deal, Chelsea’s net spend is set to total just £10.5 million – simply superb business, considering the strength of the starting eleven has been significantly improved, and various fringe/squad players have been offloaded for optimum value. Marina has perfected the skill at extracting maximum value for sales whilst bargaining the best possible deal for Chelsea’s incoming signings.
Furthermore, considering the £100 million Man City have splashed on Jack Grealish, Chelsea’s outlay on Romelu Lukaku already looks like an excellent deal. As Roy Keane told Sky Sports: “You’re paying £40-50million for players with potential, they’ve bought the real deal for £90 odd million, it’s just a no-brainer … it’s sending messages to the opposition that we mean business.”
Lukaku hit the ground running in his second debut with a fantastic display away at Arsenal. He completed 95% of his passes, including three key passes, and could’ve ended the game with a brace – Bernd Leno tipped his header onto the bar after some textbook centre-forward movement saw Lukaku slot home to put Chelsea ahead in the 15th minute.
Lukaku bullied Arsenal’s defence on his second debut
With some of Europe’s finest strikers, such as Robert Lewandowksi and Karim Benzema, both 33, Lukaku has at least five more years of performance at an elite level left, and will be keen to hit the 20 goal mark in the league this season – the first Chelsea player to do so since Diego Costa in the 2016/17 season.
It is also worth mentioning Chelsea’s habit of inserting buyback clauses in departing sales. This allows the club to reacquire players at a reasonable price in the future – as long as the player is open to such a move.
Tino Livramento, Chelsea’s 2021 Academy Player of the Year, has joined Southampton for £5 million, with Chelsea retaining a buyback clause in the region of £25-40 million.
This situation is effectively a win-win. If Livramento impresses at Southampton, Chelsea can bring him back to the Bridge in the coming years for a relatively sensible price, with the player picking up valuable experience in the Premier League in the meantime. If Chelsea choose not to re-sign Livramento, they have still pocketed £5 million which ultimately contributed towards the Kounde deal.
Livramento is one of several academy graduates to depart Chelsea permanently this summer
Chelsea have also inserted a buyback clause in the Tammy Abraham deal – £68 million valid from the summer of 2023. After witnessing the success of Lukaku, especially in his development in Serie A, the Blues are wise to retain the option of bringing Tammy home in the future. However, if this does not occur, the club have still pocketed £34 million from a player that cost nothing.
Whilst it remains unclear what moves Chelsea will make in the final days of the window, with the club extensively linked with a loan deal for Atletico’s Saul, it is worth stepping back and commending the club on it’s effectiveness in a difficult transfer market, especially considering Arsenal’s net spend of over £100 million this summer.