Kounde

Sevilla’s president has explained why he decided against selling star defender Jules Kounde to Chelsea over the summer – even though the £42.5million transfer fee could have wiped out the club’s debts.

France international Kounde, 22, was Chelsea’s No 1 defensive target during the summer transfer window but they were unwilling to meet his £68.5m release clause.

Jose Castro has claimed the European champions offered £42.5m, which would have been enough to return Sevilla to a profit despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Castro believes his decision was the correct one because LaLiga club have their own ambitions.

He told Diario de Sevilla: ‘We are the second team with the highest salary cap capacity.

‘Nobody can escape the fact we are coming out of a pandemic and this year there was no choice but to give a negative financial result.

‘There has been no income from season tickets, match tickets or bars. Marketing and television revenues have suffered.

‘Even so, with Chelsea’s offer of €50million, the deficit was wiped out. That speaks of the strength of the club.

‘I don’t know how many teams in Spain would say ‘no’ to Chelsea’s €50m and maintain this deficit, considering that the squad is worth €400m [£340m].

‘The deficit comes from the pandemic, but also from choosing to build a stronger squad rather than sell in the last two markets.

‘That’s called ambition and sometimes to have ambition you have to have a deficit. It’s OK.’

12 months before Sevilla rejected Chelsea’s offer for Kounde, they rejected a bid from Manchester City that director of football Monchi described as ‘magnificent’.

Kounde revealed afterwards that he even spoke to Pep Guardiola over the phone but the deal didn’t materialise.

The centre-back continues to go from strength to strength, helping France win the UEFA Nations League over the weekend with a 2-1 win over Spain.

Chelsea didn’t sign a new central defender in the end but they did splash out £97.5m on striker Romelu Lukaku.

Kounde was reportedly furious that Sevilla turned down Chelseas bid for him and refused to answer the phone to Monchi or manager Julen Lopetegui.

‘We all know that the summer was troubled,’ Kounde said last month. ‘I wouldn’t call it complicated. But it’s in the past now.

‘I am concentrated on the team. The most important showing is the one on the pitch. The team needs me and and I also need the team to give my very best which is what I try to do.

‘Up until this point, I’m happy with the team’s results and my own personal performances, even if I can improve a little bit still and do better than last season.’

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