Chelsea to seal Jules Kounde signing as Barcelona source alternative, with Azpilicueta breakthrough near

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde

Chelsea will reportedly seal the signing of Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde after Barcelona accepted defeat over their slim chances of hijacking a move.

The Blues came into the summer transfer window with defensive additions the major priority. Following the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, big holes appeared in the back line.

Chelsea in fact focused on adding to their attack first and snapped up Manchester City and England winger Raheem Sterling.

But after then signing Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, they are now motoring towards a second defensive addition.

Kounde has been a long-term target at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea coming close to his signature last summer and reigniting interest in January.

However, The Telegraph reports that they will get their man at the third time of asking.

Chelsea will pay £55million to Sevilla, who want Kounde off their books as quickly as possible so they can source a replacement.

While Barcelona hoped to snap the France international up instead, they were unwilling to meet Sevilla’s valuation. They hoped Kounde would have had more desire to move to Camp Nou.

But Kounde  – who made the shock move to turn up for Sevilla’s pre-season training camp – has made up his mind and wants to move to Stamford Bridge. And Barcelona have already moved on, with Onda Vasca reporting their interest in Athletic Bilbao’s Inigo Martinez.

Barca head coach Xavi wants a left-footed centre-back to add to his side’s expensive summer spending.

Chelsea won’t stop at Kounde

The Telegraph adds, though, that Chelsea will not stop once they get Kounde over the line.

Aware of the significant gaps in his squad, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel wants a third centre-back addition.

He is looking into the likes of Presnel Kimpembe of Paris Saint-Germain or RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol.

But the report claims that Kounde’s move could mean the end of the road for Cesar Azpilicueta at Chelsea.

The 32-year-old full-back has been pushing for a move to Barcelona this summer and could soon get his wish over a two-year contract proposal at Camp Nou.

Blues getting set for new season

Chelsea know they need a string of reinforcements to not only fill the gaps that have emerged but to then go on and close the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City.

Indeed, that is the ultimate aim for the Blues, who have now gone five years without winning the top flight.

Since they did it last under Antonio Conte, it has been all about Liverpool and City.

Chelsea have been best-placed to challenge them, but they have lacked the consistency to put up a prolonged fight.

Sorting out the defence with a new range of talent this summer will go a long way to determining Chelsea’s chances of a Premier League title battle.