Jules Koundé - Chelsea bound
Jules Koundé is nearing a move to Chelsea from Sevilla
Jules Koundé is a 23-year-old center-back who plays for Sevilla in La Liga. The French international moved to Sevilla from Bordeaux in 2019 and is one of their most important centre-backs. Sevilla are facing financial issues and were set to part ways with the player last summer. Chelsea were interested in Koundé, but Sevilla held on to him for one more season. That will not happen this summer.
Koundé heading to Chelsea is highly likely this summer. It is common knowledge and has been since last summer that Chelsea are his favored destination. With that in mind, it would be interesting to see where he would fit in at the club and what he would bring to the table.
Jules Koundé - A consistent defender
Koundé predominantly plays as the right-sided center-back in a back four or back three. He has made 133 appearances for Sevilla over four seasons and is known to consistently put in seven out of ten performances in each game. With Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger having left the club, and Cesar Azpilicueta's future in doubt, there is plenty of space for him.
The Frenchman would move into that right centre-back position in Thomas Tuchel's back three. What makes him different from the others is that he would give Chelsea an offensive outlet from the defense. He ranks in the 95th percentile for expected assists as a defender. He also ranks in the 90th percentile for ball progression metrics and possession.
He likes to have the ball at his feet, and that right flank could become a dangerous one considering Chelsea already have Reece James on that side. He stands at five foot 11 inches, which is short for a defender, but he has a good leap and does not get dominated aerially. He is an intelligent player, and he combines that with his pace to make sensible tackles.
Chelsea usually have plenty of possession and face low blocks in most games. The center-backs are usually at the halfway line, and he would provide creativity from those areas. He could provide overlapping runs for Reece James, with both players having the pace to recover. He would be a shrewd signing.
Jules Koundé - Developing defensively
While Koundé is talented with the ball, which is currently crucial for any player on the pitch, especially in a possession-based system, he does need to improve defensively. He usually plays higher up the pitch and can put in a tackle in the opposition half, but sometimes players do get past him. He has the pace to recover, but he will need to improve his judgment in these situations.
He will need to improve his one-on-one defending as well. His ground duel win percentage stands at 64%, which will need to improve given the level of players in the Premier League. Cesar Azpilicueta used to be one of the best one-on-one defenders in the game, and Koundé will need to live up to those standards.
Apart from these areas, he does not have any glaring weaknesses. To put in seven out of ten performances on average, a player needs to be at minimum adequate in each department. At 23, he hasn't even reached his peak, and there is plenty of time and room to grow and develop in.
Koundé made public statements about his failed transfer to Chelsea in 2021. Many players would choose to stray, but the Frenchman refocused and was one of Sevilla's most important players last season. It does seem like his wish will finally be granted this summer, and if all goes to plan, he could be one of Todd Boehly's first signings for the men's team.