Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has given a coy update on his club’s interest in signing defender Jules Kounde, saying that an announcement will be made if and when the move is made ‘official.’
The Catalan giants have been competing with to secure the Sevilla centre-back’s signature, and since last weekend appear to have become favourites. While the Andalusians have been holding out for a £55m fee from Chelsea, Kounde could move to Barcelona for cheaper if that transfer is his preference.
Though the 23-year-old is believed to have agreed personal terms on a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge, Barcelona’s reignited interest has delayed any progress on the deal.
Now, Xavi appears cautiously optimistic about his side’s chances of convincing Kounde to move.
‘Koundé? I feel bad, but I still can’t say anything,’ the Spaniard explained in a press conference during ’s tour the United States. ‘The club is working to keep improving and have more competition [in central defence]. If there is something official, we will say it.’
Despite being burdened with debts approaching one billion euros, Barcelona have been one of the most active teams in this summer’s transfer market across Europe, bringing in all of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen.
Those transfers have cost the club around £92m, while the only sale they have completed was for Philippe Coutinho’s move to Aston Villa, which brought in just £18m. Xavi says he taking an active role in transfer negotiations because players are ‘excited’ about joining Barcelona.
‘I get involved [in transfers] because I want them to come,’ he said. ‘I talk about the greatness of the club, the plan for the player… Everything adds up. We are Barça and people are excited. This year the word is illusion, illusion of returning to the top.’
Chelsea have already signed Kalidou Koulibaly this summer, but require further reinforcements having list both Antonio Rudiger and Christensen on free transfers. Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, meanwhile, has also been linked with a switch to the Nou Camp all summer long.
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