Barcelona beat Chelsea AGAIN! La Liga side reach deal with Sevilla over Jules Kounde
Barcelona have reportedly agreed a deal for highly-rated Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, who had long been the subject of interest from Chelsea.
Barcelona has hijacked yet another Chelsea target as a 'verbal agreement' to sign the highly-rated Sevilla defender Jules Kounde has reportedly taken place with the La Liga giants in a deal worth 46 million pounds plus add-ons. The Spanish club look to have got their man, dealing a massive blow to Chelsea and manager Thomas Tuchel.
One of Tuchel's main targets for the defence, Kounde now seems destined for Barcelona, which has infuriated club executives at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea has taken action to prevent Marcos Alonso from moving to the Catalan powerhouse after Barca snatched up the 23-year-old talent.
In what is turning into a combative and challenging set of negotiations, the Blues are reportedly also unwilling to allow fellow defender Cesar Azpilicueta to complete his move to Camp Nou. It comes after Barcelona swooped for Kounde even after Chelsea had accepted their offer.
This summer, Andreas Christensen already moved from Chelsea to Barcelona, but it's now unclear whether fellow defenders Alonso and Azpilicueta will do the same.
Chelsea thought they had the France international after Sevilla accepted their 55 million pound offer, but Barcelona unexpectedly outbid them. The Catalans had pulled off a similar move to hijack Chelsea's move to sign Raphinha from Leeds United earlier in the summer.
"Jules Koundé to Barcelona, here we go! Verbal agreement now in place with Sevilla after the long saga and further negotiations today, waiting to get it signed soon. Jules Koundé agreed personal terms with Barça last weekend, contract ready. Xavi, key factor again," wrote transfer guru Fabrizio Romano.
Kounde was nearly signed by Chelsea last summer, and earlier in this transfer window, Spain had a widespread notion that the Frenchman would move to Stamford Bridge once Todd Boehly's takeover was finalised.
The 23-year-old defender had always aspired to sign with Barcelona, and the team even temporarily offered his jersey number for sale on their website. It was removed right away.
Tuchel had already strongly suggested that Barcelona's move for Azpilicueta may be blocked. Asked at a press conference in Orlando ahead of their 4-0 defeat by Arsenal whether he was annoyed by Barcelona's approach, Tuchel replied, "Maybe a little bit."
Chelsea has signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli in a deal worth 34 million pounds but had long been pursuing Kounde as Tuchel looks to reinforce his backline after losing Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, who has joined Real Madrid.
Bayern Munich thwarted the Blues' attempts to buy Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus, and they were frustrated in their bid to land Manchester City's Nathan Ake.
Chelsea is also interested in two other centre-backs - Milan Skriniar of Inter and Presnel Kimpembe of Paris Saint-Germain. Josko Gvardiol of RB Leipzig is another, although the Germans want to keep him.
In light of their well-known financial predicament, Barca's addition to their flurry of buys during the summer transfer window may draw additional criticism. The purchase of Kounde is being funded by the club's bold but hazardous decision to mortgage its future with investment cash, precisely like the purchases of Christensen, Franck Kessie, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Dembele.