Barcelona have reached an agreement to sign defender Jules Kounde from Sevilla for a base fee of €50 million ($50m/£42) plus add-ons, GOAL can confirm. He is expected to sign a four-year contract that will run until 2026.
Kounde had been pursued by Chelsea since at least last summer, but he preferred a move to Camp Nou.
Xavi specifically requested Barcelona approach Kounde to reinforce a defence that has also added Blues defender Andreas Christensen on a free transfer.
The 23-year-old, who can play centre-back and right-back, represents Sevilla’s record transfer sale. However, Bordeaux will receive a sell-on sum of around €8m.
Chelsea were close to finalising a deal for Kounde last summer, but Sevilla ultimately determined they wouldn’t sell him. The added time he spent on the market opened the door to Barcelona, where the defender always preferred to go.
Having already taken Christensen away from Thomas Tuchel, the Blaugrana now have their sights set on Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso. Tuchel has been adamant that Azpilicueta won’t leave.
“It’s a tough question because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants,” Tuchel said last week. “At some point it is about what we want.
“I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what’s best for Chelsea. He doesn’t like it but he understands.
“It is tough for him because the other club is permanently on him. On the first of September when things calm down, then he can play on his highest level.”
The Spaniard has long been linked to Barcelona though, and could be tempted by a transfer to his home country.
Chelsea have signed centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, but with several departures already confirmed and more rumoured, they will likely turn their attention to another defender, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe top of their watch list. Goal