Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is keen for Jules Kounde to play in a back three alongside Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger, according to reports.
Chelsea are attempting to complete a deal for Kounde before next Tuesday’s transfer deadline. He would be a replacement for fellow Frenchman Kurt Zouma, who is in talks over a move to West Ham.
Chelsea have won their first two Premier League matches of the season.
Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have started both games as part of the back three.
Academy graduate Trevoh Chalobah and club captain Cesar Azpilicueta have both had a match each on the right side of the backline.
Thiago Silva is still working up to full match fitness following his extended break after Brazil’s participation at Copa America.
But once the former Paris Saint-Germain star is fully back, Tuchel wants him and Rudiger alongside new boy Kounde.
Speaking on Reach PLC’s Transfer Window podcast, Ian McGarry said: “Thomas Tuchel is very keen to pair Kounde with Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva if it’s a three.”
That would mean Azpilicueta, Christensen and Chalobah will see their game time limited.
Azpilicueta started against Palace as the right wing-back but Reece James’ performance versus Arsenal on Sunday means he may have nailed down that spot.
Gianluca Di Marzio claims Chelsea have agreed a fee with Sevilla of around £42m for Kounde.
Now, Chelsea must sell Zouma to West Ham to make room for the 22-year-old.
Zouma’s wage demands are proving an issue after a £25.7m fee was agreed between the two clubs.
He is claimed to want to earn £125,000 a week, which would make him the highest earner at the London Stadium.
McGarry says Blues director Marina Granovskaia is willing to help Zouma financially to get his exit done.
He said: “Proving herself to be a very canny operator in the market, Marina Granovskaia has decided that, if Zouma needs to extend the money he is getting paid at West Ham, Chelsea can facilitate part of his demands by paying him some compensation on his current contract in forms of a pay-off.
“One instalment would come five days after he signs for West Ham United and then another one next summer at exactly the same date, in order to assure the smooth transition of Zouma’s move to West Ham, and of course in turn receiving the fee from West Ham.”