Barcelona target Jules Kounde is “going to sign for Chelsea” according to club president Joan Laporta.
The Sevilla defender is reportedly set for a big-money move away from the former Europa League winners, with Chelsea and Barcelona among the favourites to land his signature.
Despite their financial difficulties, it has already been a hugely productive transfer window for Barca with Robert Lewandowski, Franck Kessie, Raphinha and Andreas Christensen already joining the Blaugrana.
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However, the LaLiga giants seem set to miss out on adding Kounde to their ranks, with Chelsea reportedly close to agreeing a five-year deal with the France international for a fee in the region of £55million.
And Barca president Laporta appeared to confirm those rumours while addressing a supporter in a hotel in Las Vegas, where Xavi’s side are in the midst of their pre-season preparations.
When asked about Kounde, Laporta can be heard saying: “No, he is going to Chelsea.”
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Following the departures of Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, Thomas Tuchel has already bolstered his defence with the signing of Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli.
And the arrival of Kounde would symbolise another statement of intent from the Blues, who have also brought in England international Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, as they seek a first Premier League title since 2017.
A reliable threat from set-pieces, the 23-year-old has completed has had 150 touches in the opposition box during his time with Sevilla – more than any other centre-back in La Liga.
Likewise, he has completed more take-ons in this time than any other centre half in the division.