REVEALED: Chelsea’s bizarre transfer strategy saw them pull out of a big-money deal for Jules Kounde after he was already ‘sold’… only for Blues to change their minds and bid LESS than Barcelona
- Jules Kounde has joined Barcelona from Sevilla after a drawn-out saga
- Chelsea were close to signing him but are said to have pulled out at a vital time
- Barcelona were able to hijack the deal in a blow for Thomas Tuchel’s side
- Thomas Tuchel will now be keen to bring in a different center back quickly
Chelsea agreed a deal to sign Jules Kounde last week but took too long to seal the transfer, allowing Barcelona to hijack it.
Chelsea were set to make defender Kounde, 23, their third summer signing until Barca announced they had struck a £46 million deal with Sevilla for him.
Sevilla director of football Monchi said: ‘This would have been the third time we’d have told him no. He’s a professional but you have to consider the person as well.
Sevilla boss Monchi has pulled back the curtain on Jules Kounde’s bizarre transfer saga after agreeing to sell him to Barcelona
Kounde had been linked to a move to Chelsea, but the Blues’ interest fluctuated over the saga
On Thursday night Koundé was ‘sold’ to Chelsea. They began to have doubts and pulled out. Then Barcelona appeared. The first time Alemany got in contact was on Monday.
‘We received an offer that was lower than what we had in mind, but we renegotiated with them and reached an agreement for a club-record sale.
‘Chelsea came back again, but Barcelona’s offer was better.’
Despite signing Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £34 million, Chelsea are still chasing another defender. Bayern Munich’s Benjamin Pavard, Leicester’s Wesley Fofana and Milan Skriniar, of Inter Milan, are on their list of targets.
The defender is thought to have always preferred the Catalan giants to Chelsea.
Barcelona were able to hijack Kounde’s move as soon as the Blues fluffed their lines, suggesting they were perhaps expecting something to go wrong.
Chelsea have missed out on a number of transfer targets this season, although they have signed a proven Premier League goal scorer in Raheem Sterling as well as Koulibaly.
Barcelona swooping for Kounde is likely to further anger Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel
Barcelona boss Xavi has made another signing in spite of financial issues at the club
The move also means that Barcelona have made yet another signing in spite of financial difficulties that may still mean they have to sell Frenkie de Jong.
For Sevilla, losing such a key player will not be as much of an issue as it might have been given the Moneyball-esque tracking system they have been using to scout new players.
The club’s head of data, Elias Zamora, spoke to Sportsmail earlier about a system that monitors 40,000 prospects aged 15-18 in 35 leagues worldwide, wherever Sevilla can obtain data.
Sevilla’s sports director Monchi released a statement on Twitter explaining Kounde’s sale
He said: ‘The goal is to identify players in a wide spectrum of competitions who are developing themselves fast, who should attract the interest of our scouts.
‘The difference in identifying a player when he is 18-years-old compared to when he is 21-years-old and established is €20 million.’
Using this system, Sevilla’s analysts have been able to reduce a list of 4,000 potential signings to just 180.
They have already made a number of signings and will be looking to push for trophies in Spain next season.