Chelsea’s fast-moving Jules Kounde transfer saga has taken yet another twist, with Barcelona activating a major cash injection that could see them launch a rival bid. The two clubs have gone head-to-head over signing the Sevilla defender as Blues fans sweat while waiting for the deal to be announced.
In a debacle that has swung one way and then the other, Chelsea struck the first blow by agreeing a £55million fee with Sevilla.
The Blues had been in for Kounde back in January before walking away over the price tag, and Thomas Tuchel was always expected to take a second bite at the cherry this summer.
But obstacles were to lie on the horizon amid murmurs that Kounde would prefer a move to Barca.
The Catalan side reportedly told the Frenchman to sit tight and wait for them to scrape some money together, and he rejoined his team-mates on a pre-season tour shortly afterwards.
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Added pressure on the Kounde front is the last thing Tuchel would have wanted, given that he is already spinning multiple plates in the transfer market. Express Sport understands that the German is trying to obstruct highly-rated striker Armando Broja’s proposed move to West Ham, even though the youngster is keen on the move due to the prospect of regular first-team football.
There are also questions to be answered about the futures of up-and-coming centre-backs Levi Colwill and Ethan Ampadu, both of whom want first-team action despite talk of incoming defenders. The small matter of hijacking Manchester United’s move for Frenkie de Jong is also reported to be on the cards during what is shaping up to be a mightily busy summer at Stamford Bridge.
“The stakes are high and we’re competing not only against the best teams who have ever played in the Premier League but also the best coaches,” Tuchel told Sky Sports. “We come from sanctions, we come from losing top-quality players, key players, we are a club in transition, in transition of ownership, we were behind in the transfer race and we were behind in the table. So we have things to improve.
“The signing of Raheem shows what we’re capable of doing, it shows the ambition of the club and the ownership and it’s good because we’re all here to win and compete. We love to compete and we love the challenge at the very top. For that we need signings of new quality players or otherwise there’s no chance.”