Chelsea leading Barcelona in Kounde pursuit: Here's why this is bad news for EPL rivals Arsenal


It is no secret that Chelsea and Barcelona are locked in another transfer battle, this time going head-to-head in the race to land highly-rated Sevilla center-back Jules Kounde.

The Blues have already signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli but are keen on strengthening even further after losing both Rudiger and Christensen for free over the summer. The Blaugrana, on the other hand, have openly admitted to wanting to bolster their defense after signing Robert Lewandowski, with Xavi informing the Camp Nou board that he wants no other player than the aforementioned Frenchman.

But which club is currently leading the race for the 23-year-old Spanish Primera Division superstar? There have been conflicting reports, with some claiming the player favors a Camp Nou switch while others tip the Premier League giants to secure his signature. With that in mind, the reliable Ben Jacobs has offered an update on this transfer saga and according to the CBS Sports reporter, Tuchel's side have nearly wrapped this up.

Jacobs wrote on social media that Chelsea expect to reach a deal with Sevilla as early as today worth €60M ($61M). The Andalusian club wish to sort out Kounde's future by Thursday in time for their trip to Portugal and have informed Barcelona that they must meet their asking price with a straight-cash offer or walk away from the deal. As for the player's preference, he is open to the idea of a Stamford Bridge move.

But as the title suggests, what does this move have to do with Arsenal and why could Chelsea's pursuit of Kounde mean bad news for the Gunners? According to Gerard Romero, Barcelona have drawn up a list of alternatives should they miss out on Jules, which appears likely now, and on this list is one of the north London giants' most promising players.

That man is none other than William Saliba, the Gunners' highly-rated French defender. Despite being regarded as one of the best young center-backs in world football, the 21-year-old is yet to make his competitive debut for Arteta's side after being sent out on three separate loan spells and is now involved in a tricky contractual situation.

Having signed for the Emirates Stadium side back in 2019, Saliba has only two years left on his deal, meaning Arsenal could be forced into a situation where they have to sell the starlet this summer if he turns down an extension. Contract talks are currently underway and while the player has not rejected an offer from the Gunners, interest from Barcelona amid his desire for regular starts ahead of this winter's FIFA World Cup could throw a spanner in the works.

It should be noted that both Arteta and the defender have publicly stated that they will work together this upcoming season at the very least. Additionally, the north London giants have already resisted attempts from Marseille to sign the player permanently. Nonetheless, Edu and Co. must tie the Frenchman down to a new deal as early as possible.

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