Newcastle United are lurking for the signing of Sevilla star Jules Kounde, although his preference may lie elsewhere, according to a report.
Sevilla have already sold one of their starting centre-backs this summer. Diego Carlos joined Aston Villa for his first taste of Premier League football. Now, his defensive partner Kounde could be on the move as well.
Targeted by Chelsea last summer, Kounde ultimately missed out on a move. This year, though, Sevilla are willing to grant him his exit wish for the right price.
Chelsea are believed to be back in for the France international. However, they are not his only admirers.
There have been growing links between Barcelona and Kounde in recent days. In their coverage, Mundo Deportivo have named Newcastle as another admirer.
With money to spend after last year’s Saudi-backed takeover, Newcastle want to show their ambition over time. Finding a new defender is one of the items on their agenda for this transfer window.
They signed Dan Burn from Brighton in January and are now looking for someone to partner him at the back. With that in mind, they could be keeping tabs on Kounde.
Mundo Deportivo also confirm that Chelsea – who have lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen – are still interested in the 23-year-old.
However, both clubs could miss out to Barcelona, who appear to be Kounde’s preferred destination. He could have been tempted by either of his Premier League suitors, but is now waiting to see if the Catalan outfit will make a move for him.
Indeed, Barcelona have reportedly lined him up as their next big signing. To get him, they would need to put together a package worth around €60m (£51.5m).
Barcelona attempt to hijack Jules Kounde deal from Chelsea
Barcelona are attempting to steal Jules Kounde from Chelsea as Sevilla CB is interested in Barca
Barca president Joan Laporta gets on well with Sevilla, so could lower the demands. They are also theorising a potential part-exchange deal, by which they could send someone like Sergino Dest in the opposite direction.
Sevilla are already eyeing replacements for Kounde, so it seems the time is right for him to change clubs. Newcastle’s chances of beating Barcelona in the race appear slim for now, though.
Jules Kounde beyond Newcastle reach, as Barcelona appeal remains
Maybe in the years to come, they could compete for players of Kounde’s level. But at this moment in time, he is a bit beyond their reach.
Barcelona, meanwhile, remains an ideal landing spot for top talents. Their financial situation seems to be easing slightly, which is giving them encouragement when it comes to transfers.
Adding Kounde to their ranks could give them a solid foundation of their defence for years to come. Newcastle would simply have to look elsewhere.
As for Chelsea, a need to reinforce their backline remains. It would be a blow for Kounde to slip from their grasp, but they will be keeping their options open.