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27 Jul, 2022 18:21

Chelsea face blow with long-term transfer target

Barcelona look to have gazumped Chelsea once again
Chelsea face blow with long-term transfer target

Barcelona are edging nearer to announcing the signing of young French defender Jules Kounde from La Liga outfit Sevilla, in a move which will signal more disappointment for the summer transfer plans of Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea.

For the second time in a matter of weeks, Chelsea look set to lose out on a top target to the Catalan club after the Londoners were beaten to the signature of Brazilian winger Raphina - and history looks to have repeated itself once again, according to football insider Fabrizio Romano, who says that a bumper £46 million ($55 million) deal is close to completion.

This comes after Chelsea had looked to be in pole position to sign the 23-year-old French international defender as Blues boss Tuchel attempts to fill the void in the backline left by the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen - the latter of whom also joined Barcelona on a free transfer.

The impending transfer of Kounde comes after Chelsea had reportedly agreed a fee with Sevilla and found an accord with the player on his personal terms, but it seems as though the ball-playing center back had his head swayed by the interest from Xavi's Barca side who have replenished their ranks this summer in spite of being mired in serious financial trouble.

The signing is an unusual one, given Barcelona's financial plight. The Catalan giants have boosted their coffers by auctioning off future TV rights to fund their spending spree in recent weeks, but are thought to be heavily reliant on some significant outgoings before the transfer window slams shut.

They have agreed a fee with Manchester United for the sale of Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong, but it is understood that the midfielder has no interest in a reunion with his former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.

Barca have also added the likes of Polish marksman Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich as well as midfielder Franck Kessie on a free transfer from Italian champions AC Milan.

Tuchel and Chelsea will now have to recalibrate their transfer strategy ahead of the start of the new season.

They have added Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly to their backline, as well as Raheem Sterling up front, but are still thought to need significant reinforcements to replace outgoing players.

They have also failed in deals to sign Manchester City's Nathan Ake and Paris Saint-Germain's Presnel Kimpembe.

The Blues were expected to sell club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and fellow defender Marcos Alonso to Barcelona, although that now remains uncertain in light of the Kounde developments. 

Tuchel's options are narrowing in the transfer market but it is thought that RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol and Leicester's Wesley Fofana might well be the next names up on new owner Todd Boehly's shopping list.

That is, unless Barcelona once again beat them to the punch.