Chelsea are to blame for their failure to land defender Jules Kounde after having doubts about the player, according to Sevilla’s sporting director Monchi.
The Blues have long been linked with the 23-year-old as Thomas Tuchel looks for quality additions to his rearguard. The Stamford Bridge outfit have lost both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this summer after they fell out of contract. And it was thought that France international Kounde was an ideal replacement at the heart of defence.
Chelsea were not the only suitors for the 23-year-old, with many clubs thought to be keen. But it seems as though Barcelona have won the race after announcing an agreement in principle to take him to the Nou Camp.
That comes after Monchi confessed at the start of the month that he had not spoken to the Catalan giants about the talented stopper.
The west Londoners appeared set to land their target but Sevilla’s transfer guru has now lifted the lid on why the deal fell through.
“On Thursday night Kounde was ‘sold’ to Chelsea, for a fee accepted by all parties. They began to have doubts and pulled out,” he told the club’s website.
“Due to situations that arise sometimes, no matter how long you’ve been in this world, there was some movement at Chelsea that made them doubt whether they needed a player with Kounde’s profile.”
No doubting Kounde quality
Tuchel is still in the market for a new defender despite signing Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli. The German tactician can call on the likes of Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Trevoh Chalobah.
But the one he seemed to crave was Kounde. With 11 France caps to his name and 133 appearances for Sevilla, there is no question that Kounde is the real deal.
And, according to Monchi, the player’s ability was never an issue for the Premier League outfit.
“There were more suitors for Kounde at the beginning of the market than at the end, and above all, the one who has stayed is Chelsea, who in the last month have kept us busy and negotiating to the point that last Thursday we reached a verbal agreement and so did the player,” he added.
“Football never ceases to surprise you. Chelsea began to have doubts and pulled out. They didn’t doubt Jules’ quality but his place within the squad.”
Barcelona leave it late
Monchi was quick to back up his previous claims about a lack of interest from Barca. It seems as though the LaLiga giants kept their powder dry until making a decisive move.
“Everything stopped over the weekend, and then Barcelona appeared,” he continued. “It’s important to mention this, but the first time [Barcelona sporting director Mateu] Alemany got in contact was on Monday.
“He showed his interest in signing Kounde. We received an offer that was lower than what we had in mind, but we renegotiated with them and reached an agreement for a club-record sale [of £42million].”
Chelsea still have time to land another big-name defender, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe and Josko Gvardiol of RB Leipzig linked.
However, failing to sign Kounde after making such a big issue of tracking him may leave fans questioning their transfer strategy.