Watch: Fabrizio Romano says Man City tried to hijack Barcelona move
Barcelona had been chasing the signature of French centre-back Kounde for weeks, but they faced stiff competition for the former Sevilla man, mostly in the form of Chelsea.
The west London club have been desperately trying to add defensive reinforcements this summer after losing Andreas Christensen to Barcelona and Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid.
They managed to secure the signing of Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly from Serie A club Napoli for a reported fee of £33million, before turning their attention to potential deals for Manchester City’s Nathan Ake and Kounde.
The Ake deal reportedly fell through owing to City’s reluctance to sell, especially for the fee that Chelsea were offering and would not budge from.
But with Kounde things progressed. Chelsea agreed a fee with Sevilla and were discussing personal terms with the 23-year-old before deciding to wait, apparently unsure whether Kounde was the perfect fit for manager Thomas Tuchel’s plans.
Sevilla’s director of football Monchi said in a statement released on Twitter: “On Thursday night [21 July] Kounde 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.
“Chelsea came back again, but Barcelona’s offer was better.”
Transfer market specialist Romano has now brought us another update on what happened in this interlude – and how it could potentially have scuppered Barca’s move for Kounde.
In his latest YouTube video, Romano says: “Chelsea wanted to try one strategy: to go again on Nathan Ake… You remember, Chelsea were really keen on signing Nathan Ake, they agreed personal terms with the Dutch centre-back.
“Then what happened? Man City, after agreeing with Chelsea for Raheem Sterling, they told [the] Chelsea board: ‘Stop for Nathan Ake because the player is staying here and we have no intention to accept your last proposal.’
But, Romano continued, “During this week [in which they were negotiating for Kounde], Chelsea wanted to try again. They were prepared to submit a big proposal for Nathan Ake…
“Man City needed a replacement [if Ake was sold]. And one of the names, a few weeks ago when [the initial] deal for Nathan Ake was still on with Chelsea, was Jules Kounde.
“So there was a call from intermediaries to understand if there was still a chance ]for Manchester City] to enter into the Kounde deal and to hijack the move in case they agreed a fee for Ake with Chelsea.
“But everything was almost impossible to be completed in a few hours because the answer on Jules Kounde’s side was very clear, he only wanted [the] Barcelona move.”
You can see the full video here.