'Impossible': Leboeuf says there's no chance Kounde starts ahead of £29m man at Chelsea

Frank Lebouef doubted that Jules Kounde could cement a regular slot over Antonio Rudiger or any of the defenders currently in the Chelsea squad.

Speaking on ESPN, Lebouef questioned where Kounde would fit into the Blues defence if he were to be signed from Sevilla.

The France international is under serious inspection from the Stamford Bridge chain of command.

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

They have wanted to add a new centre-back to Thomas Tuchel’s roster for some time.


It seems they finally have found their winner in the shape of Sevilla’s sort-after 22-year-old.

But recruiting Kounde will certainly mean displacing one of the players already stationed in Chelsea’s back-line.

Kurt Zouma appears to be out the exit door but heading in the direction of West Ham United instead of Spain.

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Even if Zouma did disperse, Tuchel would still have several superstars that served him well last season to try keep happy.

A Jule amongst diamonds

Lebouef felt this may work against Kounde, as he would not be guaranteed a starting position every single week.

He said: “They have lots of players: (Andreas) Christensen, Zouma, (Reece) James, (Cesar) Azpilicueta, Emerson, (Ben) Chilwell, and now maybe Kounde.

“Christensen had a fantastic Euro. Thiago Silva is the skipper of that team.

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  “You have Azpilicueta who does the job. Nobody deserves to be on the bench at the back of this Chelsea team.

“They did fantastically last season. Do you think it’s normal to put Thiago Silva or Christensen on the bench? I don’t think so.”

Cannot remove Rudiger

One man in particular who Lebouef insisted would be ahead of Kounde was Rudiger.

“You want to put Rudiger on the bench? Impossible. The guy had a fantastic season. We never thought he would come back at that level.”  

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

The £29m (BBC) man from Roma was arguably Chelsea’s best performer in the second half of 2020/21.

His return to the team following Tuchel’s appointment looked like a stroke of genius at the time.

In reality, it was quite a simple decision, considering the German’s love for defending.

To dislodge him would simply reverse the good work already in place.

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Yet, Rudiger’s contract runs out next June and there is no indication of an extension being offered.

Therefore, Kounde may well be the successor to his throne, if not now, but in the near future.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.