Chelsea have received a setback in their pursuit of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde.
The Lowdown: Move Complicated by Injury
Last summer the Blues made a deadline-day offer for the 23-year-old, but it was rejected, with the Spanish club calling it “unsatisfactory”.
Sevilla have already sold one defender in Diego Carlos, who has moved to Aston Villa in a £26m deal.
The Latest: Kounde Choses Barca
According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, the player has told his club that his preference is to move to Barcelona.
This is despite Chelsea and Newcastle both offering to meet the €90m (£77.3m) release clause.
Barca cannot afford to pay the full release clause but, because it is Kounde’s preference, Sevilla are reportedly willing to lower the price to €65-70m (£55.9-60.1m).
The Verdict: Chelsea Should Move On
The former Bordeaux defender’s 3.1 clearances and 0.6 blocks per game can only be bettered at the Spanish club by his central defensive partner Carlos, who has been very complimentary of the 23-year-old, suggesting that “he can play for great European clubs”.
“Yes, he has quality and he can play for great European clubs.
“He is a young player who can still improve over time, he has got great qualities, he is very strong and I am sure he can play for a big club as a great defender.”
His abilities has led to the Sevilla player being hailed as “special” by Spanish football expert Euan McTear.
“He’s still so young, he’s got energy, great positioning too. All the centre-backs, not just in Spain I think, but if you look around Europe, he’s got to be one of the highest prospects.”
However, the 5 foot 10 defender has said he would rather be somewhere else, and after the Lukaku situation this year, the west London club may not want to deal with that again.
The Belgium international had an underwhelming year, which wasn’t helped by his interview claiming that he wanted to return to Simone Inzaghi’s side.
“I always said that I love Inter and I’ll play for them again. I really hope so. I fell in love with Italy.
“I hope from the bottom of my heart to go back to Inter and not at the end of my career but when I’m still at a good enough level to win more trophies.”
Considering the tension this caused at Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel cannot afford to spend big money again on a player like Kounde, who doesn’t want to go to Chelsea.