Chelsea close to agreeing fee for Koundé but may face Barcelona competition

Chelsea are close to agreeing a fee with Sevilla for Jules Koundé but they could face competition for the French centre-back from Barcelona.

Thomas Tuchel is focusing on strengthening his defence and wants more additions after the arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli last week. Chelsea have targeted Koundé since last summer and are hopeful of buying him.

Tuchel is looking to bring in three centre-backs. Chelsea have missed out on signing Nathan Aké from Manchester City but have held talks with Paris Saint-Germain about Presnel Kimpembe and are monitoring RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol. Kimpembe and Gvardiol would fill the left-sided centre-back role vacated by Antonio Rüdiger, who has joined Real Madrid.

Koundé, who is understood to have agreed personal terms with Chelsea, is a right-sided centre-back and would be a replacement for Andreas Christensen after the Dane’s move to Barcelona.

It is believed Sevilla could accept €60m for Koundé, who can also play as a right-back or a right wing-back. However Chelsea could need to fight off interest in the France international from Barça, who beat Tuchel’s side to the signing of Raphinha from Leeds.

Chelsea missed out on Koundé after failing to agree a fee with Sevilla last summer. If the 23-year-old moves to Stamford Bridge it could allow Tuchel to let César Azpilicueta leave. Barcelona want the Chelsea captain.

Chelsea’s owners want to back Tuchel. They strengthened the attack by buying Raheem Sterling from City in a deal worth up to £50m.