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Jules Kounde could slip from Chelsea’s grasp after all following fresh reports about the chances of the centre-back joining Barcelona instead.
Kounde has been a top target for Chelsea for more than a year. However, they have taken their time to reach the kind of territory his current employers Sevilla would be looking for financially.
There has been some optimism recently, though. Two days ago, the Telegraph reported Chelsea have won the race ahead of Barcelona for Kounde’s signature.
The idea of a permanent switch for £55m began to be treated as something that could happen. However, reports in Spain and England are now suggesting Barcelona are not out of the race for Kounde after all.
According to Diario Sport, Barcelona have devised a new offer of their own for Kounde. Although they cannot match Chelsea’s €65m package, they have a tactic to tempt Sevilla into accepting their offer instead.
Supposedly, Barcelona are now willing to make their payment to Sevilla entirely up front. It would represent a change of strategy after other clubs doubted their chances of paying add-ons in separate signings.
While they will be offering a lower total than what Chelsea have put on the table, Barcelona believe they can beat the Premier League side to Kounde via their new negotiating tactic.
Closer to home, the Daily Mail are echoing the information, while adding that a hijack of the Kounde deal may prompt them to deny Barcelona the chance to sign Cesar Azpilicueta as they have been wanting as well.
Chelsea adjust Azpilicueta stance
The decision would not just be an act of retaliation, but also representative of the fact that captain Azpilicueta can continue to contribute in their back three. Chelsea may still have to look at other signings to compete with him, Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr.
The Mail claim they have not completely given up hope of winning the Kounde battle yet. However, the ongoing delays in the saga suggest he is holding out for Barcelona.
Now, with their new bid on its way to Seville, the conclusion he prefers could be in sight.
Indeed, Diario Sport‘s write-up relayed that Kounde has already reached an agreement with Barcelona over personal terms for a four-year contract.
Jules Kounde miss a damaging blow for Chelsea
In turn, it is up to the club to find an agreement with Sevilla. They are said to be confident of doing so within a week.
It would be a big blow to Chelsea as the start of the season approaches. They do have alternatives on their shortlist, so it might not be entirely unexpected. But Kounde is the kind of elite defender who would ensure their backline remains strong after Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen left.
Koulibaly is also of a high pedigree, but Kounde could have given them something to work with for a decade if all went to plan.
Now, it looks like Barcelona are winning the battle for his services again. It could be a case of going back to the drawing board at Stamford Bridge.
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The article Jules Kounde latest: Chelsea retaliate with fresh transfer decision after being overtaken by new Barcelona strategy appeared first on Teamtalk.com.