Premier League • England

Potential transfer revenge as Chelsea lead race for exciting wing-back deal

Sergino Dest against Alphonso Davies

Transfer rumours between Chelsea and Barcelona are not just heading in one direction after a report revealed the Blues’ interest in Sergino Dest.

Barcelona have been credited with an interest in several Chelsea players recently. They have been linked with captain Cesar Azpilicueta, while their interest in attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech has also been confirmed.

Christian Pulisic could also be an option to make a transfer from Stamford Bridge to Camp Nou.

But Chelsea are now showing an interest in a player Barcelona currently have. According to Sport, the Blues are suitors for full-back Dest.

Dest joined Barca from Ajax in October 2020. He made 41 appearances across all competitions in his debut season, scoring three goals. However, he is beginning to fall out of favour.

Xavi recently persuaded Barca to bring back his veteran former teammate Dani Alves to the club. The Brazilian is competing for Dest’s place and appears to have Xavi’s trust more.

Therefore, Barcelona would not be opposed to letting the USA international depart. However, they are willing to wait until the summer, rather than January, to offload him.

When the time comes, Sport believe Chelsea will be suitors. They wanted to strengthen at right-back in the summer, when Achraf Hakimi was a target, but the Inter Milan wide man went to PSG instead.

Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta is wanted by Barcelona

Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta is wanted by Barcelona

Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta is reportedly being targeted by Xavi and Barcelona on a free transfer, with more news on Raheem Sterling and Antonio Rudiger.

Nobody else arrived to reinforce the Chelsea flank, so it is something they could address in future. With Azpilicueta out of contract too, even though he has been playing in the back three more than the wider role, their need could become greater.

Dest can also operate on the opposite side of defence, where Chelsea currently have a shortage. An injury to Ben Chilwell has left Marcos Alonso – himself linked with Barcelona – as their only natural option on the left.

Chelsea face Sergino Dest competition

Sergino Dest of FC Barcelona during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF played at Camp Nou

Chelsea will have to wait to see if they can get their hands on Dest next summer, though. He is under contract until 2025 with Barcelona, but they may send him away sooner.

At the age of 21, Dest has plenty of time to prove his doubters wrong and Chelsea could give him the chance to do so.

So too, though, could Bayern Munich, who are also expressing an interest in the Dutch-born ace. But Chelsea are supposedly in pole position.

It is not yet clear how much Dest may cost, but Barca are clearly keen for their €21m investment not to lose too much value.

Blues in another Barca battle

Meanwhile, in another transfer saga involving both clubs, Chelsea’s hopes of securing the big-money signing of Jules Kounde still remain very much on course despite Barcelona boss Xavi also pushing his side to launch a bid.

The Blues are likely to be in the market for a new defender in 2022 as they face up to the exit of Antonio Rudiger. The Germany centre-half has been the one constant in Chelsea’s rearguard this season. While the likes of Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Azpilicueta have been rotated in and out, Rudiger has remained a near ever-present.

However, he, along with the aforementioned centre-backs, are all out of contract next summer.

Of the four, it is Rudiger who appears the most likely to leave. Indeed, reports last week claimed Rudiger has already decided on his next club, Real Madrid. As such, that leaves Chelsea with a huge hole to fill in their rearguard.

Chelsea, though, have been preparing for this outcome, after already identifying Kounde as a prime target. They saw efforts to sign the France defender fall short last summer.

Their bid – worth a reported £50m – was turned down by Sevilla as they held firm to his £68.7m exit clause.

Six months on and Kounde remains a top target for Chelsea. And talk he could be on the move in January has gathered pace in recent days.

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde 2021

Kounde’s price tag has dropped from the initial £68.7m Sevilla craved. While a summer deal still looks most likely, a January switch cannot be ruled out.

In turn, Blues director Marina Granovskaia is reportedly ready to make another approach to the LaLiga outfit.

However, it seems there’s a new spanner in the works in the form of Barcelona.

As per Sport, Xavi is ‘dreaming’ of a deal to sign Kounde. The new Barca coach sees the 23-year-old as a perfect long-term successor to Gerard Pique.

With finances tight, Xavi is exploring ways to finance a potential deal for Kounde. Despite Barcelona’s struggles, the centre-half may well be persuaded to stay in Spain.

However, Sport reckons that raising funds might be a step too far for Xavi. Furthermore, they concede that a move to Chelsea still looks the most likely outcome.

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