Chelsea are the front-runners to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde despite the transfer interest from Barcelona, according to reports in Spain.
The Blues missed out on signing the Frenchman last summer, but they are prepared to try again during the current transfer window.
According to Spanish publication Marca, Chelsea have already agreed personal terms over a five-year contract with the central defender.
It is added that Sevilla are waiting for a deal over £52m to be finalised for the 23-year-old’s transfer to Stamford Bridge this summer.
Barcelona have also been linked with the Bordeaux graduate, but Sevilla prefer to sell Kounde abroad rather than boosting their league rivals.
Hence, it is claimed that ‘all roads lead to Chelsea’. They could pay the entire fee up front unlike Barcelona, who are dealing with financial issues.
Kounde was heavily linked with Chelsea at the beginning of June, but the speculation has recently cooled following his surgery for a pelvic problem.
This may not act as a stumbling block for a transfer, considering the LaLiga outfit have confirmed that he would be fit in time for the new campaign.
Chelsea previously signed Ben Chilwell from Leicester City when he was nursing a foot injury, and a formal bid for Kounde is likely to be made soon.
The Frenchman generally operates as the right-sided central defender at Sevilla, and he could fit perfectly on the right side of the back three for Chelsea.
He could be considered as a replacement for Andreas Christensen, who will leave the club on a free transfer when his deal expires at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel’s side may also want a replacement for Antonio Rudiger on the left side of the back three following his switch to Real Madrid.
They could be eyeing an experienced player. Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij would be a quality low-cost option for Chelsea with similar attributes to Rudiger.