Barcelona leading race to sign 23-year-old centre-back because of Joan Laporta – report

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Barcelona’s pursuit of Jules Kounde is starting to gather pace lately, as Xavi Hernandez continues to push for the signing of a new central defender.

A recent report from Mundo Deportivo has offered an update on the situation, suggesting Barcelona are set to step up their efforts to sign the Sevilla defender, with president Joan Laporta leading the negotiations.

Laporta has an excellent relationship with Sevilla, which could come in handy as the two clubs look to reach an agreement over the transfer fee.

Premier League clubs such as Newcastle United and Chelse are involved in the race as well. They are even willing to fork out €90 million to sign Kounde, but the player has refused to talk terms yet and is holding out for a move to Barcelona.

The Frenchman is determined to become a part of Xavi’s setup in the coming season. As such, he is prepared to play the waiting game and see if the Catalans can agree a deal with Sevilla.

Los Nervionenses have no desire to keep hold of Kounde. They are in dire need of financial aid and the defender’s exit could go a long way in helping them balance the books ahead of the new season.

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While Premier League clubs are willing to meet Kounde’s release clause, Sevilla may have no option but to negotiate with Barcelona for a significantly lower fee, due to the defender’s desire to move to Camp Nou.

The report suggests Sevilla are looking at around €65-70 million for Kounde. Barcelona are not in a position to meet the discounted price, but they are looking for various avenues to lower the cost of the operation.

One of the players tipped to be included as part of the deal is Sergino Dest. Sevilla are looking for a long-term replacement for Jesus Navas at right-back, and the American international, to that end, could be an excellent option, although Barça are also open to offering Francisco Trincao.

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