Sevilla have been left bemused by ’s pursuit of Jules Kounde with the west Londoners having ‘disappeared off the map’ as they target another centre-back instead, according to reports.
The Blues have been linked with a move for the France international for well over a year and had even agreed personal terms last summer – though were ultimately unable to agree a fee with Sevilla.
Back then, the Spanish side were adamant he would only depart if a team triggered his buyout clause but are now prepared to accept offers of around £50million.
Chelsea had been expected to renew their interest, with in need of two new centre-backs after losing Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger on free transfers.
But Spanish newspaper claim Chelsea have not made contact with Sevilla, with the Andalusian club confused by the Premier League side’s approach and attitude.
After pressing to sign Kounde for over a year, they have now ‘disappeared from the map’ and Sevilla want an update on their intentions.
The Spanish side have asked Chelsea to clarify their position before July 5, with their own transfer plans on hold until they know if Kounde is definitely leaving or not.
The player himself wants to go and has also been ‘somewhat surprised’ by Chelsea not following up on their interest, having agreed personal terms last summer.
Kounde is still more than happy to accept those same terms and the deal would be relatively straight forward to complete, but Chelsea now appear to be prioritising a different centre-back instead.
Tuchel has set his sights on landing Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, who could be available this summer – especially if the Italian giants want to raise funds to sign Neymar.
There is a sense from Kounde’s camp that he is no longer Chelsea’s top centre-back target and his hopes of a move away from Sevilla could now rest on Barcelona.
Previously, the Catalan club would not have been able to afford the France international but the situation has changed, with Barca sensing an opportunity to squeeze Sevilla.
The club need to sell Kounde to fund an overhaul of their squad, while the player himself is desperate to leave, and Barcelona feel everything has now fallen into place – especially if Chelsea are out of the running.
Barca’s hierarchy are prepared to bide their time with Kounde likely sidelined until August anyway and the longer the negotiations go on, the more pressure Sevilla will be under to lower their asking price. Equally, if Chelsea cannot sign De Ligt, they may return for Kounde.
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