Tactical Insights

Chelsea can complete two-year Jules Kounde transfer mission after ‘enormous’ Barcelona decision

Chelsea could potentially reignite their interest in Barcelona defender Jules Kounde. The France international has been linked with a move to the Blues in previous transfer windows, dating back to 2022 when he looked to be moving to Stamford Bridge but a deal fell through.

The centre-back opted to join the Catalan giants over Chelsea in the summer of 2022 and featured in 29 league games, mainly as right-back, as Barcelona claimed the La Liga title. Kounde, 25, has continued to be a regular for Xavi’s side this term but there is growing noise around his long-term prospects at the Camp Nou.

The defender has been ever-present during a hectic fixture schedule to start 2024 and was at fault for two goals in the club’s Copa del Rey quarter-final defeat to Athletic Bilbao. While fatigue is almost certainly a contributing factor, reports in Spain have claimed that Barcelona could look to cash in on Kounde in the near future.

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Spanish outlet Sport has claimed that there has been ‘enormous concern’ from the club hierarchy and coaching staff regarding the drop in Kounde’s performance levels. Despite being a first team regular, it is said that Kounde is ‘no longer untouchable’ and that Barcelona may consider offers for him and former Chelsea man Andreas Christensen, combined with the desire to create a pathway for academy prospect Pau Cubarsi.

From Chelsea’s perspective, this could present an opportunity for the Blues to finally land one of their previous targets. A recent dip in form does not represent the quality Kounde would bring to Chelsea’s backline.

Mauricio Pochettino currently has Benoit Badiashile and Axel Disasi and Levi Colwill among the centre-backs in his squad, though the latter has filled in at full-back this season. Thiago Silva remains the club’s standout defender, aged 39, but Chelsea could look to strength in this area to create a succession plan for when the Brazilian does finally leave Stamford Bridge.

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