Barcelona make Jules Kounde their fifth summer signing; Frenchman has a one billion euros (£839.6m) release clause in contract; Kounde was a target for Chelsea but Sevilla sporting director Monchi claimed they missed out over doubts of where he would fit in their squad
Friday 29 July 2022 21:21, UK
Barcelona have confirmed the signing of Jules Kounde after Sevilla sporting director Monchi claimed Chelsea missed out on signing the defender because they had doubts over where he would fit in their squad.
Barcelona announced on Friday evening Kounde will sign a five-year deal at the Nou Camp when he is presented as a Barca player on Monday.
The 23-year-old will also have a one billion euros (£839.6m) release clause in his contract.
Kounde has already linked up with Xavi's squad having taken part in his first training session at the club on Friday afternoon.
The former Bordeaux defender becomes Barca's fifth summer signing after the arrivals of Robert Lewandwoski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen.
Meanwhile, Chelsea's search for another defender continues after Sky Sports News revealed earlier this week that the Blues are keen on Leicester's French defender Wesley Fofana.
Thomas Tuchel's side lost Antonio Rudiger and Christensen to Spanish football, with the duo joining Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Sevilla transfer supremo Monchi has blamed Chelsea for Kounde's failed move to Stamford Bridge after the Premier League side had agreed a fee for the France international last week.
Monchi told Sevilla's channels that the west London club voluntarily stopped talks last weekend over some last-minute doubts.
"Chelsea kept us locked in talks for the past month and both us and the player reached a verbal agreement with them last Thursday," Monchi said.
"But at the last moment, when everything seemed to be sealed and agreed, Chelsea had a few doubts on the movement that would have caused in their squad, and if the type of player that they needed was actually a profile like Jules Kounde or someone else.
"Talks stalled at the weekend, and even though they put in a really good bid they preferred to wait, which is totally logical and normal. During this hard bargaining, [Barcelona sporting director] Mateu Alemany manifested their interest for the first time on Monday.
"We asked them to make a bid and their first one fell short of what we were expecting. But after working on it, also thanks to an important effort from Barcelona's side, we got to a very important figure which makes up the record sale in the club's history.
"Chelsea then returned to the table, but eventually we accepted Barcelona's bid because it was better than Chelsea's. Eventually, we sold the player to a club which he is happy to go to, while Sevilla were able to get the best possible terms."
Sky Sports News reported on Thursday that after agreeing a deal, Chelsea were concerned with the lack of updates from the player on Saturday and feared the worst by the end of the day.
The hierarchy agreed to look at other targets when they flew back into the UK on Sunday afternoon from their pre-season tour of the United States.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, has admitted he is a "little bit" annoyed with Barcelona over their pursuit of Cesar Azpilicueta.
The 32-year-old has 12 months remaining on his Chelsea contract and has reportedly asked to leave the club after a decade at Stamford Bridge to return to his native Spain with Barcelona.
But Tuchel says he is not sure if he wants to give Azpilicueta "what he wants", and believes Barca have undervalued the defender, comparing his value to that of recent Chelsea capture Koulibaly, who signed for £33m.
When asked if he has been annoyed by the Spanish giants' pursuit of Azpilicueta, Tuchel replied: "Maybe a little bit."
Asked about the Spaniard's future, Tuchel said: "It's a tough question because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants.
"At some point it is about what we want. I just made the comparison about how much we fought for Koulibaly, who is a national team player and roughly the same age.
"He is a hugely important player for Napoli but we have a Spanish international who is the captain at Chelsea. I see him maybe at the same level but Barcelona don't see him on that level. So I am not sure if I want to give him what he wants as he is a huge player.
"We don't think so much about other clubs. The focus is on us and what we need. I said that to him and I say it to you that I understand on a personal and a career level. But I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what's best for Chelsea.
"He doesn't like it but he understands. It is tough for him because the other club is permanently on him. On September 1 when things calm down, then he can play on his highest level."
Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window closes at 11pm on September 1?
Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.
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