Premier League • England

Chelsea back in hot pursuit of defender they’ve always wanted after double Champions League scouting mission

Jules Kounde and Victor Osimhen

Chelsea have been watching Barcelona and Napoli stars

Chelsea are taking another look at long-term defensive target Jules Kounde after he caught their attention again playing for Barcelona in the Champions League, according to reports.

Kounde was a top target for Chelsea in the summer of 2022, but Barcelona won the race to sign him from Sevilla instead. Since then, Chelsea have instead invested in Wesley Fofana, Benoit Badiashile and Axel Disasi as their new centre-backs, as well as promoting Levi Colwill to their first team after his loan spell at Brighton.

However, Chelsea could be back in the hunt for another defender as Thiago Silva approaches the end of his contract and Trevoh Chalobah faces a third consecutive transfer window in which he will be linked with an exit.

And according to HITC, Chelsea are casting glances towards Kounde again, aware that Barcelona might make him available for a transfer.

Barcelona were up against Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday night, which Chelsea were paying attention to as they consider a move for Partenopei striker Victor Osimhen.

But while Osimhen was watched, so too was his opponent Kounde, the report claims.

Chelsea sense Barcelona might make the Frenchman available as they aim to keep their spending within check. After all, Kounde is one of Barcelona’s biggest earners on the wage bill.

They still have him under contract until 2027, but Chelsea could try to prise him away before then.

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How Kounde will look at them as a potential destination remains to be seen, since Chelsea are far away from European qualification again for next season.

At the age of 25, the former Bordeaux prospect is at a crucial stage of his development before what should be his peak years, which he will want to spend at the highest level possible.

Kounde stance on Barcelona future revealed

Some sources initially wondered if he was ever happy at Barcelona because of having to play at right-back, rather than centre-back, sometimes.

However, following up HITC‘s story, Mundo Deportivo maintains Kounde has no plans to leave Barcelona now and is not considering his future, even though he has been back on the defensive flanks again recently.

It was as a right-back that Kounde played against Barcelona, meaning he wasn’t directly involved in many duels with Napoli centre-forward Osimhen, as would have been the case if he was playing where Ronald Araujo and Inigo Martinez were deployed instead.

As TEAMtalk has covered frequently, Osimhen is on Chelsea’s radar for the other end of the pitch as they look to finally secure a reliable regular goalscorer.

Napoli are expecting to cash in on Osimhen this summer despite his recent new contract and Chelsea are rivalling the likes of Paris Saint-Germain to present him with his next platform.

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