Chelsea hold off Barca to sign Kounde in €64m deal

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Jules Kounde during the match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC, corresponding to the week 30 of the Liga Santander, played at the Camp Nou Stadium, in Barcelona, on 03th April 2022.

Jules Kounde is set to become Chelsea’s third summer signing in a deal that could allow captain Cesar Azpilicueta to join Barcelona.

Chelsea look to have beaten off competition from Barca for Kounde. They have agreed to pay Sevilla in the region of £55 million (€64m) and have offered the defender a five-year contract.

Having signed Raheem Sterling in a deal worth £50m and Kalidou Koulibaly for £34m, Chelsea’s new owners have now already committed £139m to new signings since taking over the club with more deals to follow.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta appeared to concede defeat in the race to sign Kounde by telling a supporter in Las Vegas that the 23-year-old will move to Chelsea.

The signing of Kounde will bring to an end a year-long pursuit of the player for Chelsea, who almost signed him last summer before Sevilla moved the goalposts on the transfer fee.

Kounde had appeared to have slipped down the pecking order of Chelsea targets this year until Matthijs de Ligt preferred a move to Bayern Munich and Nathan Ake decided to stay at Manchester City.

The arrival of Kounde will further strengthen the defensive options of head coach Thomas Tuchel (left), who has already signed Koulibaly from Napoli this summer.

Koulibaly is in line to make his first Chelsea appearance in the club’s final game of their US tour against Arsenal in Orlando in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Kounde can play on the right of a back three or at right wing-back, which will give Tuchel the option of also swapping Reece James between those two positions.

Tuchel is still ideally hoping to sign a third defender this summer, with Paris St-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe a target, and Kounde’s move could give Azpilicueta the green light to return to Spain with Barcelona. 

Azpilicueta is keen to leave Chelsea this summer, with Barca willing to give him a two-year contract.   

Tuchel and Chelsea had told the 32-year-old that he must wait to find out if the club could land their targets before making a decision.

Azpilicueta did not feature in Chelsea’s last friendly against Charlotte FC, despite making the trip to the US, and has not spoken on his future during the club’s tour. Other than trying to add another defender to his squad, Tuchel will reassess his forward options after missing out to Barcelona on Raphinha. 

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