CHELSEA have been hit with more bad news in their pursuit of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde.
For a long time the Blues seemed to be the clear frontrunners to snap up the French international this summer.
But now Barcelona have entered the fray as they look to hijack Chelsea’s £55million deal.
And according to Fabrizio Romano, the Catalan giants believe they are closing in on sealing Kounde.
Speaking on social media, he said: “Barcelona are in direct contact with Sevilla for Jules Kounde. Talks are ongoing.
“Barca, also today feeling increasingly confident – trying to reach full agreement soon.
“Personal terms agreement with Jules Kounde is done and sealed, he’s waiting for the clubs.”
The news comes after Romano confirmed on Monday that positive talks were held between Kounde and Barcelona.
As a result, Chelsea are turning their attention towards alternative options as they prepare to miss out on the Sevilla star.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe and RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol have both been linked with moves to Stamford Bridge.
And the Blues are also thought to be lining up a bid for Inter Milan wingback Denzel Dumfries.
Thomas Tuchel has already made two high-profile signings this summer in Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Earlier this month, the German coach revealed Chelsea have “no chance” of winning the Premier League title without more arrivals.
He told Sky Sports: “The stakes are high and we’re competing not only against the best teams who have ever played in the Premier League but also the best coaches.
“We come from sanctions, we come from losing top-quality players, key players, we are a club in transition, in transition of ownership, we were behind in the transfer race and we were behind in the table. So we have things to improve.
“The signing of Raheem shows what we’re capable of doing, it shows the ambition of the club and the ownership and it’s good because we’re all here to win and compete.
“We love to compete and we love the challenge at the very top. For that we need signings of new quality players or otherwise there’s no chance.”