'Can't they?': ESPN pundit believes Chelsea have advantage over Barcelona in race for Kounde

ESPN pundit Craig Burley believes Chelsea have a clear advantage over Barcelona in the transfer race for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde.

The transfer saga surrounding the 23-year-old defender has yet to reach a conclusion, and it remains unclear how long this will continue.

Spanish outlet Marca claims that Kounde has been left out of Sevilla’s travelling squad for their match against Sporting on Sunday evening amid the uncertainty around his future.

The report suggests that Sevilla sources continue to deny any concrete negotiations with Barcelona over a potential deal, and Chelsea are the only club close to reaching an agreement.

However, there is no transfer announcement so far despite the reported £55million agreement between Chelsea and Sevilla.

According to Burley, Chelsea’s having the spending power to improve their bid for Kounde should put them in front of Barcelona in the race.

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“Both [Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly and Barcelona president Joan Laporta] are trying to make a statement in a different way [in this transfer window],” the former Scotland international told ESPN FC.

“But Chelsea can up their bid, can’t they? I mean Barcelona are going to have to [raise] money, so Chelsea are in a better financial position.”

Burley, however, also mentioned that for many players, Barcelona and Real Madrid would be their dream clubs.

“There is a lure of the Premier League; the physicality and how competitive it is, but Barcelona and Real Madrid, albeit with their problems, are still the pinnacle for a player,” he explained.

“If Barcelona can come up with the money, I think that’d be problematic for Chelsea. But then they have to come up with it.”

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Barcelona announced the activation of their second economic lever this summer, which should give them plenty of room to work with in the transfer window.

However, as Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano recently suggested, it is very unlikely that the Catalan club will be able to match Chelsea’s offer for Kounde, and instead would try to offer a different payment structure in their proposal.

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A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.