Xavi Hernandez reportedly intends to bring Jules Kounde to Barcelona, although the Blaugrana will need to fend off competition from Chelsea.

According to a report by Spanish publication SPORT, Jules Kounde has become a key target for Xavi Hernandez for the summer transfer window. The Barcelona boss has identified the Sevilla defender as the ideal candidate to bolster the backline. However, Chelsea will provide stiff competition for the centre-back, with his release clause valued at €80 million.

Jules Kounde has established himself as one of the best defenders in La Liga since joining Sevilla from Bordeaux in July 2019. The Frenchman took no time to become a key figure for the Andalusian club, carving out a special place for himself in Julen Lopetegui’s side.

To date, the 23-year-old has made 114 appearances for Sevilla, chipping in with seven goals and three assists in the process. At the same time, Kounde has also established himself in the French national setup while popping up on the radar of several European bigwigs, including Chelsea and Barcelona.

The interest from Chelsea stems from the uncertainties surrounding the futures of Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen. Azpilicueta and Christensen have been heavily linked with Barcelona and could join the Blaugrana on Bosman move in the summer transfer window.

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Chelsea will thus need to enter the transfer market for a centre-back in the summer, with Kounde emerging as a key target for Thomas Tuchel. But Chelsea might have to fend off stiff competition from Barcelona in pursuit of Kounde, with Xavi Hernandez keen on signing the Sevilla defender.

At Barcelona, Eric Garcia’s popular return from Manchester City has not gone to plan, with the Spanish international often leaving a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, Gerard Pique is in the twilight of his glittering career and could retire at the end of the season. At the same time, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti face uncertain futures at Barcelona, thereby necessitating the need to sign multiple centre-backs.

But Kounde will not be a cheap acquisition as the release clause in his Sevilla contract stands at €80 million. With Barcelona keen on signing Erling Haaland, it might be difficult to shell out considerable sums on two players amid their financial woes. Chelsea could thus be in pole position to snap up the €80 million-rated defender in the summer, although it will be interesting to see if Barcelona can claw back in the race.

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