THOMAS TUCHEL is about to end his seven-month pursuit of Jules Kounde and clinch a hat-trick of deals in a stunning week for Chelsea.
The defender is finally on his way from Spanish side Sevilla and due to undergo a medical within the next 48 hours.
The France centre-half has already spoken to Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel and even hopes to join his new club for the last few days of their US tour.
Kounde has settled personal terms and Chelsea have agreed to pay Sevilla's asking price of £51million plus £4m in add-ons.
He will join fellow new boys Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling as the latest of the new stellar additions to Tuchel’s squad.
Sterling’s unveiling last week triggered a rush of business with centre-back Koulibaly signing from Napoli and now Kounde finally sealing a long-anticipated move to the Premier League.
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Tuchel first swooped for Kounde during the January transfer window but talks broke down due to haggling over the price.
Sevilla were demanding the full amount of the release clause.
Kounde then aggravated an old pelvic injury while playing in the Nations League in June and underwent minor surgery – putting the sale at risk.
Chelsea looked at alternatives, with Manchester City’s Nathan Ake on their radar, while Spanish giants Barcelona tried to muscle in and hijack proceedings.
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But Kounde, 23, has always felt more secure about joining Tuchel at Chelsea than Barcelona.
According to club insiders, a deal is "99 per cent done" to get him to England at last.
Chelsea are coming to the end of their America tour and play Charlotte on Thursday before meeting Premier League rivals Arsenal in the early hours of Sunday morning UK time.
Then it is another friendly against Udinese in Italy.
Tuchel has been desperate to bolster his defence following the departures of centre-backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen at the end of the season on free transfers.
He has now filled both slots with highly-rated and experienced players as Chelsea try to bridge the gap between them and rivals Manchester City and Liverpool who finished above them last season.
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The arrival of Kounde and Koulibaly may now trigger outgoings from the Chelsea backline.
Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta is hopeful of being released to join Barcelona although prior to flying to America, no talks had been held about allowing him to go.
The accomplished Spaniard is keen to go home having won every trophy possible in ten years with Chelsea.
Although primarily a right-back Azpilicueta does play centre-back and the arrivals of Koulibaly and Kounde ease the pressure on Tuchel in the position.
Spanish left-back Marcos Alonso is also keen to leave but his situation is unaffected by Chelsea’s latest deals.
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