Barcelona have confirmed an agreement in principle to sign Jules Kounde from Sevilla.
The 23-year-old French international had been expected to sign for Chelsea this week amid reports of a £55 million deal being agreed between the Premier League side and Sevilla.
However, the defender will now remain in La Liga after Barcelona agreed a deal in principle to sign the player.
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He joins Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, who moved to the Camp Nou from Bayern Munich and Leeds United respectively for around £100m.
Frank Kessie joined from AC Milan on a free transfer, as did Andreas Christensen from Chelsea. The London club were therefore forced to look at defensive reinforcements following the Dane’s departure, as well as Antonio Rudiger’s move to Real Madrid, also on a free transfer.
Chelsea have already signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli but were believed to be close to signing Kounde until reports emerged that Barcelona were looking to hijack the move as Xavi Hernandez continues his extensive rebuild of the Catalan side following several poor seasons.
Central defence has long been a problem for Barcelona with Gerard Pique likely approaching the end of his career and Samuel Umtiti’s injury problems, while Christian Lenglet has left to join Tottenham on loan for the upcoming season.
Barcelona have also been linked with Chelsea defensive duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso but those moves may be complicated by a potentially damaged relationship following the dramatic late move for Kounde.
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