Sevilla are reportedly demanding Chelsea take a final call on their pursuit of Jules Kounde, setting a deadline for their answer.

According to The Mirror, Sevilla have set Chelsea a deadline to make their final decision in pursuing Jules Kounde. The London club’s call could effectively change the 23-year-old French defender’s transfer direction, with Barcelona likely gaining an advantage in the chase.

Chelsea chased Jules Kounde for over a year and have yet to make any headway in his pursuit. However, Thomas Tuchel likes the Frenchman and feels he could improve his defensive ranks, as the interest precedes the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

With the defensive duo exiting from Stamford Bridge in the close season, the need to bring a player like Kounde has exponentially increased. As a result, there is plenty of work for new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly in the market; among those is finding quality central defenders for next season.

Kounde was Chelsea’s primary target last summer, but the Blues have reportedly cooled their interest in the 23-year-old centre-back in the last few days. However, the French international also features higher up on Barcelona’s shortlist, putting the transfer prospect in a tough spot.

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Barcelona are waiting for Chelsea to bow out of the race and forcing Sevilla to reduce their €65 million asking price. The transfer fee has been the sticking point for the Blues, with the Premier League club’s reluctance to pay up thoroughly surprising the Andalusian club.

However, in light of Chelsea’s recent lack of interest, Sevilla have set a deadline for the Blues to make a final decision. The west Londoners have until July 5 to make their mind up on Kounde. If the Premier League heavyweights bow out of the race, it will greatly benefit Barcelona in their pursuit of the Frenchman.

Chelsea have other important players on their shortlist. One of their top targets, Matthijs de Lijt, is keen on joining them, although if the Dutchman’s price is too high, they might come back in the race for Kounde. As for Kounde, he was recently reported to favour a move to Barcelona. The Catalans have a great relationship with Sevilla and could use their leverage to reduce his asking price.

Kounde had previously been inclined to join Chelsea, but with the possibility of a transfer hanging by a thread, the ongoing period is proving tricky. However, the 23-year-old French defender wants to quit Sevilla this summer after failing to depart last year.

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