Chelsea have reportedly told Barcelona to forget signing Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso after as their meddling puts them on pole for Jules Kounde.
The two clubs have crossed paths several times in the transfer market this summer, with Barca so far getting the bragging rights. First of all, they managed to tie Ousmane Dembele down to a new contract when all hope looked lost.
Chelsea wanted the Frenchman in January and again after his last deal expired, but he opted to renew.
And the battle for Sevilla centre-back Kounde is the latest soap opera featuring Chelsea and Barcelona.
Despite the Stamford Bridge club finally putting a five-year deal on the table for him amid their willingness to pay £55million, Barcelona have told Kounde to wait for them and he now looks likely to move to Camp Nou.
Indeed, Goal claims that while Barca have not yet tabled an offer for the centre-back, talks are taking place.
What’s more, the outlet says that those talks will more than likely result in Barcelona winning the race for Kounde.
As a result, Sport claims that Chelsea bosses have been left ‘angry’ by the developments. They realise the need for more defensive signings with the new Premier League season just over a week away.
Kalidou Koulibaly is the only addition in so far. He has proven himself for Napoli in Serie A, the Champions League and the Europa League, but the exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen weigh heavier than Koulibaly’s record.
Chelsea give Barcelona stern warning after Kounde
In fact, Christensen moved to Barcelona as a free agent. The fact that the Blaugrana are stealing Kounde has persuaded Chelsea to put a block on the La Liga side signing any more of their players.
Previous reports claimed that Chelsea were thinking of refusing captain Azpilicueta’s move to Barca.
The Blues had previously told Barca that he would cost £7million, a fee the Spanish side turned their noses up at.
But now, Sport claims that Chelsea have indeed refused to entertain the idea of Azpilicueta leaving for Barca any longer.
And they now have the same stance over left-back Marcos Alonso, another key target for Blaugrana head coach Xavi.
Although, Barcelona have already identified Celta Vigo’s Javi Galan as an alternative in that regard.
Blues need big signings
With just over a week to go until Chelsea play Everton in their Premier League opener, the Blues have work to do in the transfer market.
Boss Thomas Tuchel claimed after Sunday’s 4-0 pre-season hammering by Arsenal that he “can’t guarantee” his side will be competitive by the time the new campaign kicks off.
That Chelsea look like they have ultimately wasted their time with Kounde will serve as a big blow.
The hunt is now on for alternatives. Chelsea like the look of Presnel Kimpembe of Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol and rising Monaco star Benoit Badiashile.
Inter’s Denzel Dumfries also emerged on the Blues’ radar alongside Badiashile on Tuesday.
Chelsea do of course have until the end of August to add to their defence. However, if it came to deadline day, that would mean going five Premier League games without the defence Tuchel wants.
Not only would that affect the first five games of the season, but the time it could take for new signings to gel could have a lasting impact too.