Exclusive - Kurt Zouma has told Chelsea he is not prepared to join Sevilla, despite the club's desire to use him in part exchange for Jules Kounde.
The 26-year-old had been earmarked to head to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium as part of the deal to bring Kounde to Stamford Bridge, but that is not an idea the Frenchman is prepared to entertain.
A source has informed 90min that Zouma has told Chelsea he wishes to remain in London, and that could hand West Ham a significant boost in their attempts to bring him to the London Stadium. The Hammers are looking to strengthen their options in central defence, and there has already been contact between the two clubs about a permanent move.
A fee of around £20m has been mooted but it's likely the Hammers will need to up their offer if Chelsea are to agree selling to another Premier League club. At this stage there's no talk of Zouma moving to West Ham on loan.
News of Zouma's unwillingness to move to La Liga is a blow for Chelsea in their pursuit of Kounde, but is unlikely to deter them from completing a deal. Several players have been offered to Sevilla in exchange, but the club can afford a straight cash purchase should the Andalusian's not be interested in any of the talent offered up.
Chelsea are keen to bring Kounde in as they look to solidify their own backline amid uncertainty about the long-term futures of Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger. Both players are heading into the final 12 months of their contracts, and are yet to agree new terms despite head coach Thomas Tuchel's desire to tie them down for the long haul.
Kounde has been identified as the club's top target, having previously been of interest to rivals Tottenham. The 22-year-old wasn't interested in a move to north London, however, and has since agreed personal terms with Champions League holders Chelsea.
The onus is now on the Blues to find a solution, with Zouma's inclusion in a part exchange deal now seemingly off the table.