Chelsea ‘prepared to walk away from Jules Kounde deal’

Chelsea are reportedly prepared to walk away from a deal to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, who is seemingly edging closer to joining Barcelona.

Chelsea are prepared to walk away from a deal to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, according to a report.

The Blues have been heavily linked with the 23-year-old throughout this summer, with Thomas Tuchel identifying the Frenchman as a primary target following the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Last week, Chelsea were seemingly edging closer to recruiting Kounde in a deal worth around £55m, but Barcelona now appear to be leading the race for his signature.

The Catalan giants stepped up their interest in Kounde over the weekend and although they are yet to confirm an agreement with Sevilla to sign the defender, a recent leak on their official club store website suggests that an announcement could be imminent.

According to The Guardian, a potential move for Kounde to join Chelsea is on the verge of collapsing and the Blues are now ready to shelve their efforts to sign the centre-back.

Jules Kounde pictured in March 2021© Reuters

The report adds that the West Londoners have doubts as to whether the 5ft 10in defender is tall enough to excel in the Premier League.

Tuchel has already missed out on luring Manchester City’s Nathan Ake back to Stamford Bridge as well as failing with attempts to sign Matthijs de Ligt who has now joined Bayern Munich.

Kounde is seemingly the next big-name defender to add to this unwanted list, but it is thought that the Blues still have a number of targets on their radar who they will consider pursuing before the September 1 deadline.

Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Presnel Kimpembe is one name who has been linked with the Blues this summer, and newly-appointed head coach Christophe Galtier recently refused to rule out the prospect of the 26-year-old leaving the Parc des Princes this summer.

Following the announcement of Nordi Mukiele‘s arrival on a five-year deal from RB Leipzig, PSG could potentially allow Kimpembe to leave the club, with an offer in the region of £42m allegedly enough to prise the France international away from the Ligue 1 champions.

Paris Saint-Germain's Presnel Kimpembe pictured during a press conference in October 2021© Reuters

A possible swoop for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol has also been mooted, although the German club are under no pressure to sell the 20-year-old who still has four years remaining on his contract.

Gvardiol, who can operate at either centre-back or left-back, enjoyed an impressive first season with Leipzig in 2021-22, featuring in 45 games across all tournaments, and his performances have caught the eye of a number of clubs including Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Man City.

Earlier this summer, Chelsea were linked with Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar, while a recent report from journalist Simon Phillips states that the Blues have expressed their interest in signing Leicester City‘s Wesley Fofana.

Chelsea have already added one centre-back this summer in the form of Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, while their other big-money signing is forward Raheem Sterling from Man City.

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