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Chelsea fume as Jules Kounde looks set to seal his future in big-money move

Stamford Bridge insiders believe they had agreed a deal to sign Kounde

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel at the pre-season friendly against Charlotte FC at Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina. Photo: Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images© Getty Images

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Chelsea insiders are “fuming” after it emerged defensive transfer target Jules Kounde is on the brink of signing for Barcelona.

The Stamford Bridge club have been chasing Kounde’s signature throughout 2022, with talks breaking down in January after Chelsea refused to pay Sevilla’s asking price for the French defender.

The west London club were convinced their long chase for Kounde would end successfully when they agreed a fee for the player the last week, but they feel “let down” by the player and his agent after initial agreements did not lead to a finalised deal.

Now it appears the players has set his heart on a move to Barcelona, even though Chelsea had agreed a fee and personal terms with one of their chief transfer targets.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has made it clear that defensive signings are a priority this summer, with the capture of Kalidou Koulibaly added to the Blues’ defensive options.

Tuchel made it clear that Kounde would be a first choice pick if he signed for the 2021 Champions League winners, but the lure of Barca appears to have been too much to resist.

Chelsea have been looking at alternative defensive options in recent days, with Leicester’s Wesley Fofana is one option for Tuchel.

Yet the Foxes will not allow the 21-year-old centre-back to leave unless they receive a bid of around £50million him in the coming days and they want any transfer to be concluded before the start of the Premier League season next weekend.

Chelsea have already lost defenders Antonio Rüdiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona this summer, with captain César Azpilicueta also pushing for a move to Barcelona.

Yet Tuchel has made it clear that he is not prepared to allow Azpilicueta to leave unless he finds a suitable replacement for one of his key players.

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