Transfer Talk: Five Chelsea targets with Rudiger on his way
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Matthew Storey
LiveScore
Jules Kounde is top of Chelsea's wanted list to replace Antonio Rudiger at centre-back
Jules Kounde is top of Chelsea's wanted list to replace Antonio Rudiger at centre-back

Chelsea will need defensive reinforcements this summer with Antonio Rudiger leaving Stamford Bridge at the end of the season and Andreas Christensen likely to follow him.

As soon as a takeover goes through and the Blues are able to properly put together their transfer plans, the search for a new centre-back will begin in earnest.

Ahead of their clash with Manchester United tonight, the Londoners have been linked with numerous defenders. 

We look at their options in what could be a crucial window. 

Jules Kounde

Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde was potentially heading to Chelsea last summer before a move collapsed over a failure to agree a fee.

But with reports this week suggesting the Frenchman is still keen on a Stamford Bridge switch, it would be surprising if the Blues did not reignite their interest.

Kounde has been capped nine times by France and has put in a number of impressive displays for Sevilla — but ex-Real Madrid star Steve McManaman is still not convinced.

McManaman said: "Even though he's only 23, he has been around and has been highly thought of for the past couple of years. However, nobody's plumped for him yet and there's a reason for that.

"It's either because he's too expensive or he's just not top level yet. 

"I still think he has to improve if he’s going to be in the top echelons of the Premier League, where you will find the very best teams."

Wesley Fofana

Wesley Fofana has proved he is a top-class centre-back at Leicester
Wesley Fofana has proved he is a top-class centre-back at Leicester

It is only a matter of time before one of the continent's biggest clubs make a move for Wesley Fofana.

The Frenchman signed a new five-year deal at Leicester in March but all that will do is drive up his value when he does eventually depart.

Fofana, 21, slotted into the Foxes' backline with ease last year and has returned at the top of his game after a nasty leg break delayed his first appearance this term until last month.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp recently said: "Fofana is one of those when you see a Rio Ferdinand coming through, a Virgil Van Dijk, he is in that quality. 

"He is a great athlete, a great footballer, he can play for any club he wants to in the future. He is an exceptional talent."

Marquinhos

Paris Saint-Germain captain Marquinhos is another player Chelsea were keen on signing in 2021.

The Brazilian revealed in October that PSG blocked any move before an offer could even be made, such was his importance to them.

Marquinhos spent two years playing under Tuchel during the German’s Parc des Princes reign and clearly left an impression.

He is still only 27 and has a wealth of experience, having played more than 350 times for Les Parisiens since moving from Roma in 2013.

Reports suggested he would extend his stay in Paris until 2026 earlier this year. But with two years left on his existing deal, he has yet to sign a new one. 

Max Kilman

Max Kilman has been an impressive figure in Wolves' backline this term
Max Kilman has been an impressive figure in Wolves' backline this term

Bruno Lage’s arrival at Wolves has helped Max Kilman transform into one of the best young English centre-backs around.

The 24-year-old's journey from futsal-playing non-leaguer to top-flight regular is gaining more traction and he had barely missed a minute of football up until mid-March.

A strong defender, his background means he is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet and the Blues have supposedly been keeping a close eye.

Ex-England ace Micah Richards said: "He's a left-footed centre-half who plays on the right of a three. He's played futsal before and that’s why he might be so comfortable on the ball.

"He looks really good in the Premier League. He looks assured. Everything about his game is mature."

Amos Pieper

A new name on Chelsea’s radar is Amos Pieper — and the German centre-back is also attracting plenty of interest from elsewhere.

The 24-year-old ace is out of contract at German outfit Arminia Bielefeld this summer and has impressed despite their struggles.

Southampton, Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund are all tipped to battle it out for his signature.

But Chelsea would undoubtedly be the most attractive option should they enter the race.

They just need to decide if Pieper is good enough for a side looking to challenge for the Premier League title next term.

Tags

Premier LeagueChelseaSevillaLaLigaWesley FofanaLeicester CityParis Saint-GermainLigue 1Max KilmanWolverhampton WanderersArminia Bielefeld1. Bundesliga
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