Chelsea are likely to beat Barcelona to the acquisition of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, with Todd Boehly preparing to seal his third signing as owner.
After losing out on the highly rated centre-back a year ago, the Blues are on the verge of adding him to Thomas Tuchel’s squad for the 2022/23 season.
According to The Times, Chelsea and Sevilla have struck a deal for roughly £55 million, with a five-year contract on the table for the 23-year-old France international.
They have resisted competition from Barcelona since the Catalan giants have been unable to pay their La Liga rivals’ asking price.
Earlier this week, Barcelona president Joan Laporta officially admitted defeat in the battle for Kounde’s signing, informing a supporter in Las Vegas that he was headed to Chelsea.
Boehly has already supported Tuchel with £139 million in his first summer transfer window as owner, with further acquisitions likely.
After missing out on Kounde last summer, Chelsea appeared to have moved on, choosing Matthijs de Ligt as their top defensive target.
However, the 22-year-old turned a move to Stamford Bridge for Bayern Munich, while Nathan Ake chose to stay at Manchester City, pushing the Blues to look elsewhere.
Despite signing two excellent center-halves this summer, Tuchel is looking for a third, given club captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s desire to join Barcelona.
With negotiations ongoing over a prospective trade for Paris Saint-Presnel Germain’s Kimpembe, Kounde’s anticipated arrival could make his leave easier.
Azpilicueta joined Chelsea for their pre-season trip to the United States after Tuchel advised him that he needed to stay at the club until they could adequately replace him. However, he did not play in the most recent match against Charlotte FC and will most likely be given the go-ahead to finalise a move to the Nou Camp.
Kounde will be the third signing of the Boehly era, following Raheem Sterling’s £50 million move from Manchester City and Kalidou Koulibaly’s £34 million move from Napoli.
Tuchel wants to add another attacker to his team in addition to trying to strengthen their defence with a third center-back.
Chelsea tried to recruit Raphinha and struck a £55 million agreement with Leeds United, but Barcelona’s hijacking effort was successful. However, the Blues have been connected with other offensive names, like Newcastle United’s Allan Saint-Maximin.