A CHELSEA move for Jules Kounde could force Barcelona to instead focus their efforts on signing Kalidou Koulibaly.
The Blues want Sevilla centre-half Kounde, 23, to help fill the void left by the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
Barca boss Xavi also likes the £55million-rated star but they are struggling to compete against rivals with more spending power this summer.
That could see the Catalans instead turn their attention to Napoli powerhouse Koulibaly, 30.
The Senegal skipper is valued at about £34m and is Barca's 'alternative' to Kounde, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Mundo have been told Barca have not yet made an approach for Koulibaly and the Serie A side want him to sign a new deal.
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Koulibaly's contract expires next year but the Italians want to tie him down for another five with improved wages, according to Corriere dello Sport.
Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti has said publicly he views Koulibaly as an essential part of his squad.
Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with a move for the 62-cap defender.
And his agent Fali Ramadani has reportedly been trying to pave the way for a summer exit from the club he joined in 2014 from Belgian side Genk.
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Sevilla are playing hard ball with Chelsea over a fee for ten-cap France star Kounde.
The central defender has been on the Blues' radar since last summer and they were close to signing him last season.
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