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 centre back quickly
Sevilla boss Monchi has revealed the bizarre transfer saga that saw centre-back Jules Kounde join Barcelona after chaotic negotiations saw him pull out of a move to Chelsea.
Barcelona announced they had finally struck a deal to land the highly-rated French defender after a long-drawn out tale that initially saw Chelsea as one of the favourites to seal his signature.
And now Monchi has pulled the curtain back on a baffling chain of events, claiming Kounde was close to arriving at Stamford Bridge before Chelsea chiefs pulled the plug – then changed their minds – before Barcelona swooped.
Sevilla boss Monchi has pulled back the curtain on Jules Kounde’s bizarre transfer saga after agreeing to sell him to Barcelona
‘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.’
‘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.’
Kounde had been linked to a move to Chelsea, but the Blues’ interest fluctuated over the saga
‘Chelsea came back again, but Barcelona’s offer was better.’
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.
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
It will come as a blow to the Thomas Tuchel’s side, who have lost Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger in recent months. They have brought in Kalidou Koulibaly as a replacement but will still be keen to strengthen further in defence.
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 €20million.’
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.
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