Chelsea’s year long pursuit of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde could ultimately prove to be in vain as the player is believed to be in talks with Barcelona, informs the Shoot.co.uk.
The Blues have been heavily linked with the Frenchman for the past 12 months, and looked almost certain to secure a deal for the player last term but a move never materialised.
The 23-year-old had been close to joining Chelsea once again this summer, but it now appears that fellow La Liga side Barcelona are leading the race to land him.
As per Catalunya Radio via The Daily Mail, Barcelona are in ‘advanced talks’ with the player over the possibility of moving to the Nou Camp this summer.
Kounde’s current side Sevilla are resigned to losing the player, but he may well now be staying put in Spain rather than moving to the Premier League.
The report claims that Barcelona could spend as much as £51 million on the centre-back, who has made more than 130 appearances for Sevilla since joining in 2019.
Thomas Tuchel had been chasing the France international as a replacement for Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, both of whom departed the club at the end of the season upon the expiry of their contracts.
At present, Tuchel is set to start next season with only Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr as recognised senior central defenders.
Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta have also both been linked with moves away from the club, meaning that Tuchel’s backline could be threadbare for the opening game of the upcoming campaign if no signings arrive.