Jules Kounde has performed a U-turn, deciding to join up with Sevilla’s squad for pre-season amid interest from Chelsea and Barcelona this summer.
The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, with the Blues long-term admirers of the defender.
With both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen having already departed the club, Thomas Tuchel was in the market for defensive reinforcements.
Kalidou Koulibaly has already arrived in a £34 million deal from Napoli, with Tuchel wanting to bring in additional reinforcements.
Kounde was believed to have been the closest, but Barcelona have complicated the transfer in recent days.
Chelsea will have poor memories of transfer dealings with the Catalan club, with Xavi’s side hijacking a deal for former Leeds United winger Raphinha earlier in the window.
It now appears that a similar case could happen, with Barcelona targeting a late move for Chelsea-linked Kounde.
Previous reports revealed that the La Liga side have accepted a £55 million offer from Chelsea for the centre-back.
Rumours were fuelled later when Kounde was absent from Sevilla’s training camp squad to travel to Portugal, with a medical at Chelsea expected in the coming days.
However, it has since been reported that Kounde has performed a dramatic U-turn, as he joins the Sevilla team.
As reported by Samuel Silva, Kounde is now travelling to Lagos with his teammates while his future is finalised.
Negotiations with Chelsea are said to be ‘still hot’, but Barcelona remain in the race.
Further reports from Jose Garcia stated that the player wants to wait with his teammates in Portugal and avoid training alone while the move is finalised.
Chelsea and Sevilla are still set to exchange documents regarding a transfer.
Manolo Nieto of Goal also handed Chelsea a boost, stating that the 23-year-old is looking at the possibility of moving into the house vacated by Romelu Lukaku this summer following his loan move to Inter Milan.
However, Gerard Romero has reported positive developments for Barcelona as he believes that the Catalan club wanted Kounde to travel with Sevilla for pre-season, in order to hand them more time to make a bid.
This is seen as a ‘very significant gesture’ by Kounde and Chelsea are not happy with his decision.
Furthermore, Romero states that Barcelona’s Mateu Alemany is speaking with Sevilla director Monchi and Fernando Navarro for Kounde, while Chelsea remain in contact with Sevilla’s president as a move hangs in the balance.
It remains to be seen as to what will happen in the latest transfer saga, with Chelsea and Barcelona once again battling for the signature of a player this summer.
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