Roman Abramovich could play a significant role in Chelsea’s pursuit of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde this summer.
With the Russian billionaire expected to assist Marina Granovskaia in pushing through a move, according to reports.
Kounde has been heavily linked with the Blues this summer as Thomas Tuchel gears up for a renewed Premier League title challenge.
The German boss has transformed Chelsea’s fortunes at the back since taking charge of the club in January.
Tuchel’s side conceded just once during the Champions League knockout stages on their way to European glory last season.
However, the 47-year-old is keen on adding further quality to his back three as Chelsea look to follow up with a first domestic triumph in five years.
Kounde is believed to be a priority target for the Blues, with the Sevilla man understood to have spoken to the club regarding the possibility of a move.
Reports have suggested that Chelsea have already agreed personal terms with the Frenchman, but the proposed move appears to have stalled in recent days.
The European champions are close to finalising the club-record signing of Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku, a development which is said to be responsible for holding up proceedings with regards to Kounde.
The situation has been credited with sparking an internal dilemma at Chelsea, with Tuchel and club director Granovskaia at odds over what to do next, according to Spanish outlet Orgullo De Nervion.
The report claims that Tuchel is continuing to stress the importance of landing a new centre-back this summer, with Kounde his preferred option.
However, Granovskaia is believed to be wary of overspending after committing to a fee in the region of £97million for Lukaku.
Sevilla are reportedly demanding around £60m for Kounde, with Chelsea said to be keen on driving down his asking price over the coming weeks.
They are widely believed to have already seen at least one player-plus-cash offer rejected by the La Liga heavyweights this summer.
The hope in west London is that Abramovich will analyse the situation in detail before stepping in to find a solution that works in the club’s best interests.
The Blues owner bankrolled an unprecedented summer of upheaval last time around, with Chelsea spending £222m on the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
It remains to be seen whether Abramovich will be prepared to fund a move for Kounde alongside the capture of Lukaku, who is poised to return to Stamford Bridge after a seven-year absence, ahead of this month’s transfer deadline.
The Sevilla defender recently fuelled suggestions that Chelsea could be his next destination by admitting that he is toying with the idea of a new challenge.
“Regarding my future, it’s certain that I will perhaps have to change clubs this summer,” Kounde told reporters back in May.
“But nothing has been finalised yet. I have not decided anything. My goal is to play for a big club, to try to always progress and to win trophies.
“It’s true that I might have to move, but that’s not relevant today.”