French players who played for Chelsea as Jules Kounde links resurface

Chelsea have reignited their interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and want to make the Frenchman the first signing of the Ted Boehly era, according to reports.

With the likes of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leaving the club on free transfers at the end of June, the Blues are keen to make the Kounde deal happen as soon as possible, according to reports from GOAL.

The west London club reportedly agreed a deal last summer to bring the 23-year-old to Stamford Bridge, but the move collapsed due to the fee the La Liga giants were commanding.

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Julen Lopetegui’s side are reportedly holding out for £59m for Kounde, who has previously won the Europa League with the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium side, and has won the Nations League with France.

The versatile defender, who can play either as a centre-halve or right-back, would be a quality addition and his signing would showcase Boehly’s intent to improve Thomas Tuchel’s side.

With interest in Kounde resurfacing, TCC looks at the French players who played for Chelsea.

French players who played for Chelsea

Didier Deschamps

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Kicking off the French players who played for Chelsea, Les Bleus’ manager had one season with the Blues after arriving from Juventus in the summer of 1999.

The defensive midfielder won the Community Shield and FA Cup in his solitary campaign in England where he made 46 appearances.

Deschamps, who called time on his playing career in 2001 after a season with Valencia, will be hoping to make it back-to-back World Cup successes as France boss in Qatar.

Frank Leboeuf

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Across a five-year period in west London, Leboeuf made 196 appearances for Chelsea and for half of those appearances he played alongside his compatriot Marcel Desailly.

Leboeuf won six trophies with the Blues before returning back to his homeland with Ligue 1 giants Marseille.

Lassana Diarra

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Signed from Le Harve, Diarra never established himself as a first-team regular at Chelsea, but that was largely down to the wealth of world-class competition he faced for places in midfield.

After a brief spell with Arsenal, Diarra moved to Portsmouth where he famously won the 2008 FA Cup under Harry Redknapp. His performances with Pompey saw him secure a big-money move to Real Madrid.

Following spells in Russia and Abu Dhabi, Diarra retired in 2019 and his last club was Paris Saint Germain.

Marcel Desailly

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What a signing this man was from AC Milan and Desailly arrived at Chelsea at the peak of his powers.

If Kounde is looking to be a success at Stamford Bridge then he’ll have to follow in the same dominating footsteps that Desailly produced with great regularity.

Desailly is a Chelsea legend and the serial winner made over 200 appearances for the Blues across a six-year period.

William Gallas

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Prior to his involvement in the deal which saw Ashley Cole move to Chelsea from Arsenal, Gallas was a key part of the Jose Mourinho side that won back-to-back Premier League titles.

Gallas, a £6m signing from Marseille, made more than 200 appearances for Chelsea in five years, but with one year left to run on his contract, the versatile defender made it clear he wanted to leave Stamford Bridge by not turning up for pre-season training.

Following a four-year spell with rivals Arsenal, Gallas then made the shock switch to Tottenham before retiring after a spell in Australia with Perth Glory.

Emmanuel Petit

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Following an impressive career which had already seen Petit play for Monaco, Arsenal and Barcelona, as well as being part of the France side that won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championships, the all-action midfielder finished his career at Stamford Bridge.

Petit had a three-year spell with Chelsea which brought 76 appearances.

Claude Makélélé

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The former Real Madrid man’s ability to screen and protect his defence saw the creation of what was known as the ‘Makelele role’.

In Mourinho’s first two Premier League titles, Makelele was the unsung hero who glued the team together and he recreated the defensive midfielder role.

After five years at Stamford Bridge, Makelele moved to PSG where he hung up his boots. He’s currently working as an individual coach for Chelsea’s Under-18s side.

Nicolas Anelka

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Is there anywhere there this man didn’t play? Anelka certainly wasn’t afraid to switch clubs, but his four-year period with Chelsea was the longest he stayed at any club.

He may have missed that penalty in the 2008 Champions League final, but he struck up a deadly partnership with Didier Drogba.

Alongside one Premier League title and two FA Cups, Anelka was the top-flight’s top scorer in 2008-09 with 19 goals.

Kurt Zouma

Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

For all of his promise and burgeoning potential, Zouma hasn’t quite lived up to the billing and that’s why he has been left behind by the likes of his compatriot Kounde.

The 27-year-old has had a solid first season at West Ham, but he never quite hit that elite level stage although he still has time to get back playing in the Champions League.

Loic Remy

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Chelsea had been seeking to reinforce their attack after Fernando Torres moved to AC Milan on loan, so the Blues triggered Remy’s £10.5m release clause at Queens Park Rangers on the last day of the summer transfer window in 2014.

Remy scored 12 goals for Chelsea and won the Premier League under Mourinho in 2015, but after a loan spell at Crystal Palace, the forward moved to Las Palmas in 2017.

The 35-year-old is currently playing in the Turkish top-flight with Adana Demirspor.

N’Golo Kante

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

No matter who you support, it’s impossible not to love Kante who brings a smile to everyone’s faces.

It helps that he’s and incredible footballer and such a humble human being too, but he’s been an excellent signing for Chelsea since the club signed him for £30m from Leicester in 2016.

Similar to Makelele, Chelsea’s biggest problem will be replacing the all-action midfielder who knits the team together.

Tiemoué Bakayoko

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Playing in the talented Monaco side that reached the Champions League semi-finals five years ago, Bakayoko hasn’t kicked on in the same way the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva and Fabinho have.

Chelsea signed the one-time French international from the Stade Louis II for £40m in July 2017, but he’s been loaned out for four consecutive seasons.

It’s hard to see a way back for the 27-year-old at Chelsea following his 43 appearances for the club.

Malang Sarr

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After arriving from Nice, the French Under-21 international spent last season on loan at Portuguese giants Porto.

Sarr has made 20 appearances for Tuchel this season, but they have largely come as a result of injuries and unavailability.

With reinforcements likely to be forthcoming this summer it’s hard to envisage Sarr moving up the pecking order and becoming a regular at Stamford Bridge.

Florent Malouda

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The 80-capped French international, who would later go onto represent French Guiana four times, spent six years at Stamford Bridge after arriving from Ligue 1 giants Lyon in 2007.

Malouda’s last game for the Blues was that famous night at the Allianz Arena where Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea beat Bayern Munich, in the German’s backyard on penalties, to win the Champions League for the first time in Chelsea’s history.

The dazzling winger made over 200 appearances for the west London side and won the Premier League and three FA Cups during his time in England.

After spells in Turkey, India and Egypt, Malouda announced his retirement in 2018.

Olivier Giroud

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In our list of French players who played for Chelsea, Giroud is our final man. Now we must give honorary mentions to Laurent Charvet, Bernard Lambourde and Gael Kakuta, but they didn’t make the grade.

Giroud spent three-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge following his move from Arsenal and he’s on the brink of helping AC Milan win their first Scudetto in 11 years.

France’s second all time top scorer scored some crucial goals during his time in west London, including the opener in the 4-1 win against his former side Arsenal, in the 2019 Europa League final.

Giroud was the Europa League’s top scorer that season with 11 goals, but he wasn’t happy with his game time under Tuchel and moved to the Rossoneri where he is thriving.

Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.