Jules Kounde, the French defender who recently turned down Chelsea to sign for Barcelona, is reportedly open to leaving the Catalan club. According to reports in Spain, Kounde does not feel “comfortable” in Catalonia and has given his approval for Barcelona to raise funds through his sale in the summer. While it is not entirely clear why Kounde is unhappy at Barcelona, it is likely that being played as a right-back instead of his preferred central defender position is a major factor.
Kounde has played the majority of his first season with Barcelona as a right-back, despite making his name as a central defender. He has played several times for France in this position, as the national team does not have an elite player available for this role. The Frenchman has not submitted a formal transfer request, but he knows that his market value has risen over the course of the season. Barcelona director Mateu Alemany has neither confirmed nor denied the rumours and has said that they will resolve the situation internally.
Chelsea had been tracking Kounde for quite some time but could not close a deal with Sevilla for his services. After losing out to Barcelona in the summer transfer window, the club proceeded to sign French defender Benoit Badiashile from Monaco for €37m in the winter transfer window. They later signed Wesley Fofana from Leicester City for around £70million. However, Kounde’s availability may tempt Chelsea, especially if they manage to offload some players in the summer.
While the Blues do have a bloated squad, it is not entirely beyond the realms of possibility that they would pursue Kounde. Chelsea has had a difficult season defensively, with their most celebrated signing, Kai Havertz, unable to form a consistent defensive partnership with any other player on the backline. Struggles at the back are also the reason that a new defensive midfielder and goalkeeper may be incoming. Chelsea is expected to appoint Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager, and the Argentine is likely to oversee significant changes to the squad over the summer.
In conclusion, Kounde’s potential availability will have many clubs watching on with interest, particularly if he is unhappy at Barcelona for playing out of position and not feeling comfortable at the club. While Chelsea may be considered an option, their defensive problems are not solved by adding Kounde to the squad. However, it is also true that Kounde’s market value is rising because of his performances, and his availability may make him an attractive proposition for some clubs in the market for a high-quality defender.