CHELSEA have been dealt a blow over their pursuit of Jules Kounde as Barcelona announce that a deal has been struck for the Sevilla defender.
It appears that the medical and paperwork is the only hurdle between the centre-back officially being unveiled as a Barcelona player.
It will bring to an end a long chase from the London club to land the centre-back.
They have been locked in battle with Barcelona for weeks and it one stage it appeared that Thomas Tuchel's side had gotten the job done.
But an announcement and tweet this evening from the Catalan club have made clear that Kounde is edging closer to the Nou Camp.
In a statement, they say a deal has been agreed in principle for the 23-year-old.
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The statement adds that the medical and signing of contracts are the final steps before the signing can be officially confirmed.
They also give a description of the abilities they believe the Frenchman will bring to the club.
The statement reads: "Jules Kounde is known for being a very fast defender, quick to intercept, and being good on the ball.
"The French centre back, who can also play as a full back, is very difficult to beat one-on-one and is comfortable defending high up the pitch, as he trusts his recovery pace to get back.
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"Kounde also likes playing out from the back and threatening his rivals though slide rule passes or by carrying the ball.
"He never thinks twice about leaving his position at the back to join in the attack by breaking the lines with the ball at his feet.
On their Twitter page, Barcelona also tweeted out a short video of Kounde seemingly on his way to the medical.
The announcement will be a blow for Chelsea who have monitored Kounde for a long time and were known to be interested.
Despite the signing of Kalidou Koulibaly, the Blues are still believed to be in the market for another defender.
With Kounde now seemingly out of reach, they may turn their attention to PSG's Presnel Kimpembe as they look to secure upgrade their defence.
As for Barcelona, this is the latest huge transfer that they have managed to pull off this despite their well-documented financial issues.
They also managed to beat Thomas Tuchel's side to the signing of Raphinha before sensationally landing Robert Lewandowski.
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