Chelsea make Saul Niguez and Jules Kounde transfer decisions with four new deals eyed

Premier League clubs will not release players for games in red-list countries

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Chelsea will prioritise the signings of Saul Niguez and Jules Kounde ahead of next week’s transfer deadline before switching their focus to retaining the services of their most important players, according to reports. The Blues have already spent close to £100million this summer on the capture of Romelu Lukaku, who returned to Stamford Bridge in a club-record move from Inter Milan earlier this month.

However, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is believed to be a keen admirer of both Saul and Kounde as he looks to add further quality to his ranks.

The former will reportedly be allowed to leave Atletico Madrid over the coming days, with Manchester United also having been credited with an interest in his services.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have been pursuing the signature of Kounde since last month but the European champions are reluctant to meet the defender’s hefty release clause, which stands at around £77m.

Any deal is said to be dependent on the sale of Kurt Zouma to West Ham United, who are understood to be in advanced talks with Chelsea over the possibility of a move.

It seems as though Blues director Marina Granovskaia remains hopeful of landing the La Liga duo, with their respective moves firmly at the top of the club’s priority list, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.

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The report claims that Chelsea will pursue an initial loan deal for Saul with the option to buy at the end of the season, while Kounde’s move still hinges on the situation between Zouma and West Ham.

However, negotiations are said to be progressing at a rate of knots, which suggests that Sevilla’s prized asset could be a Chelsea player before the end of the month.

The Blues have also drawn up plans to extend the contracts of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho after deadline day has passed.

A number of meetings are believed to have already been scheduled, with Tuchel looking to keep hold of the club’s key players on a long-term basis.

It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will be able to land Saul and Kounde in the next few days as they seek additional reinforcements to supplement a renewed Premier League title challenge.

Tuchel declared earlier this month that he is satisfied with the strength of his current dressing room, but the 47-year-old also hinted at his desire to add more players by highlighting the small size of Chelsea’s squad.

“I am absolutely happy with our squad and the alternatives we have,” Tuchel told reporters.

“That means we maybe don’t have the biggest squad but that we have a very competitive squad in all positions. This, on one hand, is necessary because we play a lot of competitions and we play the World Club Cup in December.

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“We also played very long last season and there was the Euros and Copa America. So if we want to compete we need this level.

“But at the same time, it’s also important we’re a strong group, this was maybe the key for the last half a year. We played with a strong bond and a great team spirit.

“This is a challenge for the team and for me to create this atmosphere again. And that everybody is ready to take hard decisions and keep pushing the team.

“If we do this we can achieve more than we have.”

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