Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed that Marina Granovskaia was aware that a deal to sign Jules Kounde had the potential to fall through before it eventually did in the closing stages of the summer transfer window. The Blues pushed hard to land the Sevilla defender, who reportedly agreed personal terms with the European champions last month.
Kurt Zouma’s permanent move to West Ham United with just days until the deadline suggested that Chelsea would intensify their pursuit of Kounde in the remaining hours.
However, it became clear that a move would not be possible with Sevilla refusing to accept a fee lower than the 22-year-old’s release clause, which is believed to be in the region of £77million.
It has been claimed that Chelsea will go back in for Kounde when the January transfer window rolls around, with the player said to be frustrated over the situation.
Tuchel was quizzed on the club’s attempts to sign the Frenchman ahead of Saturday’s clash with Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
The 48-year-old told reporters that Granovskaia was all too aware that a move would have been tricky to engineer, a belief that was shared by himself and technical advisor Petr Cech.
He also revealed that he is more than happy to continue with his existing options for now, with the recent emergence of Trevoh Chalobah helping to bolster Chelsea’s defensive ranks.
“Marina was in charge and she is the best person who can be in charge,” said Tuchel.
“We were in contact and Petr Cech was in contact. Us three, we knew about all the situations.
“We knew things can happen, things can happen late, and we were also very aware of the situation that, maybe, nothing happens at all.
“I assured everybody that I’m also happy if we cannot bring a player in. We will find the solution within the squad.
“We will push players within the squad. But it was clear we tried for Kounde and Saul [Niguez] and it was very, very late.
“But it was a very, very smooth transfer window because I had full concentration on training and on my team.”
Chelsea managed to sign Romelu Lukaku for a club-record fee of £97million during the summer, with the Belgian forward returning to Stamford Bridge from Inter Milan.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez also joined the Blues in a last-gasp loan move but struggled to make an impression on his debut against Villa on Saturday.
FOLLOW OUR NEW DAILY EXPRESS SPORT INSTAGRAM PAGE
He was hauled off at the interval after a lacklustre first-half showing, with Chelsea going on to seal a comfortable 3-0 win on home turf.
Tuchel revealed after the final whistle that Saul was taken off because he made a number of individual errors, with the Spaniard unable to adapt to the fast-paced nature of Premier League football on his first attempt.
“It was hard to do it but I had the feeling he struggled,” the Chelsea boss told Sky Sports.
“He had some big mistakes, passing mistakes and errors and he struggled with the intensity and you could see that he has not fully adapted.
“So it is completely my responsibility, I thought that he can maybe just jump in and play for us on that level.
“I thought it is maybe just better to have Jorginho who has a close connection with Thiago [Silva] to control the game there a bit more.”