Thursday, April 18News That Matters

‘Angry’ Chelsea block Barcelona from signing two players amid Kounde transfer battle

Chelsea are blocking Barcelona from signing Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso after the La Liga giants hijacked their move for Jules Kounde.

The London club expected to welcome French defender Kounde to Stamford Bridge this summer but Barcelona have joined the race despite their financial difficulties.

Barca are now confident of striking a deal with Sevilla and Kounde as the defender would prefer to head to the Nou Camp than join Premier League club Chelsea.

With Thomas Tuchel recently making it clear that he wants more new signings before the start of the new campaign, Kounde joining Barcelona would be a huge blow to Chelsea’s transfer plans.

According to Spanish outlet Sport, Chelsea are ‘angry’ with Barcelona and believe they are interfering with their plans while also trying to sign two of their own players.

Azpilicueta and Alonso have both been heavily linked with moves to Barcelona but it is claimed Chelsea are currently blocking the moves as a result of the Kounde tussle.

Blues head coach Tuchel was reluctant to lose club captain Azpilicueta anyway and his stance will only have been emboldened after Barcelona’s pursuit of Kounde.

Barcelona, meanwhile, expected to sign Alonso this month but Chelsea are now showing reluctance to sanction his exit as tensions grow between the English and Spanish teams.

Azpilicueta has enjoyed a remarkable spell at Stamford Bridge, playing 476 matches for the club and winning every trophy available to him after his £7m move from Marseille in 2012.

Alonso, meanwhile, has lifted the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup since moving to Stamford Bridge six years ago.

Chelsea have already signed Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly so far this summer but Tuchel has made it clear he believes more signings are needed ahead of the new campaign.

Speaking after Chelsea’s pre-season defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, Tuchel said: ‘I look at the last season and parts of the game where we struggled, parts of the season where we struggled, and then we got sanctioned and players left us and some players are trying to leave us, and this is where it is.

‘So we had an urgent appeal for quality players, a huge amount of quality players. We got two quality players but we are not competitive like this. Unfortunately you could see it today.’

Chelsea finished third in the Premier League last season and will start their 2022-23 campaign on August 6 against Everton.

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