Barcelona remain in contact with Chelsea over a double deal for defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, 90min understands, and the Catalan side are confident an agreement will soon be reached.
The two sides have been butting heads all summer and remain in battle over Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde, who has agreed a move to Chelsea but is delaying a final decision while Barcelona try to lodge a bid of their own.
Reports elsewhere have suggested that Chelsea could block Barcelona’s moves for Azpilicueta and Alonso as an act of revenge, but 90min understands the two sides remain in contact over the double deal.
Personal terms are understood to have been agreed with both defenders and the two clubs are now discussing the transfer fees. Both Azpilicueta and Alonso are in the final 12 months of their respective contracts and Chelsea are looking to recoup modest fees for the pair.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has publicly admitted his frustration towards the idea of losing Azpilicueta in the same window as Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, and sources have confirmed that he has assured the current Blues captain that there is a place for him at Stamford Bridge next season.
However, there is an acceptance that Azpilicueta has been impressed by Barcelona‘s offer of a long-term contract and, having already promised the 32-year-old that he has earned the right to pick his next move, the Blues will not force Azpilicueta to stay if he pushes for an exit.
Chelsea are well prepared when it comes to finding a possible replacement for Azpilicueta. The plan has long been to find three new defenders this summer, with Kalidou Koulibaly the first and steps taken to make Kounde the second.
Scouts have been analysing a number of other defenders, with Leicester’s Wesley Fofana the latest addition to a shortlist which includes Villarreal’s Pau Torres, RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol, Inter’s Milan Skriniar, PSG’s Presnel Kimpembe and Bayern Munich duo Dayot Upamecano and Benjamin Pavard.
Whether they will end up with Kounde remains to be seen. Chelsea have agreed a £55m fee with Sevilla and have already struck a deal over personal terms with the Frenchman, whereas Barcelona remain in talks with their fellow La Liga side over a fee.
Barcelona’s latest offer is understood to be lower than the bid on the table from Chelsea, but the Blaugrana hope Kounde’s desire to join them this summer could help them win the race for his signature.