Chelsea are set to make Jules Koundé their third summer signing after fighting off competition from Barcelona for the Sevilla defender.
Koundé is expected to move to Stamford Bridge on a five-year deal after Chelsea agreed to pay about £55m for the 23-year-old.
Barcelona have been trying to convince the France international to join but it is believed they are unable to meet Sevilla’s asking price. The Catalan club have had financial problems recently and have already spent heavily on Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha this summer.
The arrival of Koundé would be another boost for the new regime at Chelsea. The departures of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen have forced Thomas Tuchel into a frantic rebuild of his defence. Chelsea have signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £33.8m, but Tuchel ideally wants two more defenders.
Chelsea are also targeting Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe and RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol. Kimpembe and Gvardiol are left-sided centre-backs, so are seen as potential replacements for Rüdiger.
Koundé, who can play as a centre-back, right-back and wing-back, has been a long-term target. Chelea tried to sign him last year but were unable to agree a fee with Sevilla.
If Koundé joins, Chelsea could grant César Azpilicueta permission to join Barcelona. Azpilicueta, who has a year left on his contract, wants to move back to Spain and has been offered a two-year deal by Barça. However Chelsea have been reluctant to sell their captain without bringing in a replacement first.