Sevilla defender Jules Kounde was in talks with Chelsea over a potential move in the summer, but a deal ultimately fell through.
Thomas Tuchel’s pursuit of the Parisian defender was no great secret during the summer months, as the German looked to bolster his defensive ranks.
The European champions saw centre-back duo Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori leave permanently in the window to West Ham and AC Milan respectively.
Antonio Rudiger will also see his current contract expire at the end of the season, so Chelsea’s courting of Kounde was seen as a top priority a few months back.
A deal ultimately failed to transpire, though, as Sevilla kept hold of their prized asset, and Kounde has since revealed his failed move to Stamford Bridge affected him mentally.
Kounde told Telefoot: “Did my failed transfer to Chelsea this summer affect me? Yes, a little bit, but now it’s digested.”
Chelsea’s expiring contracts in defence
Rudiger is not the only defender who will see his present deal run out at the end of the season. Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen are all also in the final 12 months of their respective contracts at Cobham, and will be able to speak freely to other clubs from January onwards about a pre-contract agreement.
Despite remaining coy over his future Rudiger, who has been a stalwart in defence for Tuchel as part of his back-three, says he remains dedicated to Chelsea and motivated to give his all to the club, even with uncertainty over his Blues career looming ever large.
He told Welt Am Sonntag: “No. I am now concentrating on what is imminent. I owe that to the club, the coach and the team. I’ve always said that Chelsea is my number one contact.
“I’m only focused on Chelsea at the moment. We’ll see what happens.”
Rudiger also went on to laud the coaching credentials of Tuchel, whom he has shone under since his compatriot succeeded Frank Lampard in February.
“That’s right. He bet on me – and I paid back,” said Rudiger.
“Before he came to us, I heard that he was supposedly difficult to deal with. But I don’t experience that. On the contrary. He is clear, factual and direct, just as you like it as a footballer – generally as a person.
“I find it helpful when someone tells me directly what they like about me and what I can still work on. I can do a lot more with that than when someone comes and dribbles around what they want to say.”