Chelsea "pulled out" of a deal for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde due to "doubts" over how he would fit into Thomas Tuchel's squad, according to the Spanish club's director of football, Monchi.
Barcelona announced that they had agreed a deal in principle for the Frenchman on Thursday in another apparent transfer blow for Chelsea, who had been strongly connected with the player.
Monchi has now revealed, though, that a deal was in place to take Kounde to the London club before Chelsea hesitated on concluding the transfer, allowing Barcelona an opportunity to table a bid of their own.
‘He can mark an era’ – Xavi delighted with Barcelona debutant Kounde
28/08/2022 AT 20:55
Sevilla subsequently reached an accord on a club-record sale to the Catalan club.
Monchi explained: "There were more suitors for Koundé at the beginning of the market than at the end, and above all, the one who has stayed is Chelsea, who in the last month have kept us busy and negotiating to the point that last Thursday we reached a verbal agreement and so did the player.
"Football never ceases to surprise you - Chelsea began to have doubts and pulled out.
"They didn't doubt Jules' quality but his place within the squad.
"Everything stopped over the weekend, and then Barcelona appeared. It's important to mention this, but the first time [Barcelona sporting director Mateu] Alemany got in contact was on Monday. He showed his interest in signing Koundé.
"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".
Chelsea have already signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli this summer but remain keen on further reinforcements after the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Rudiger promises to bring his 'fighting spirit and leadership' to Real Madrid after Chelsea move

A potential return to the club for Nathan Ake now also appears unlikely.
Leicester's Wesley Fofana has been mentioned as a potential player of interest, but reports have suggested his current club will command a significant fee.
LaLiga Smartbank
'We are waiting' - Kounde to miss Sociedad trip as Barcelona still unable to register him
21/08/2022 AT 15:30
No concrete interest from Real Madrid for Sevilla's Jules Kounde - Expert View
28/07/2020 AT 15:23