Barça loses Koundé and points to Iñigo Martínez
The agreement between Sevilla and Chelsea for the transfer of the French central defender, advanced by 'The Times', closes for 60 million
Despite the new economic lever activated by Barcelona, an oxygen ball of more than 300 million, the French central defender Jules Koundé escapes the Barça club, one of Xavi Hernández's great objectives to reinforce a very weak defense. In the end, the Sevilla center-back will end up at Chelsea, who will pay 60 million to the Nervionense club.
The operation, reported this Friday from England by 'The Times', leads the French international to Stamford Bridge for the next five seasons. It will do so after a tough negotiation in which the London club has put its entire arsenal on the table to convince both Sevilla, always tough when it comes to selling, and the footballer.
Koundé attended the Seville team's concentration in the Algarve on Thursday, despite the fact that he is still out after undergoing surgery on the pubis that gave him so much trouble last year. A lightning trip to Portugal, since he has been called from London to pass a medical check-up.
Chelsea launched for Koundé this week, knowing the total interest of Barça in hiring the defender. There was only one finalist offer to Sevilla and the fringes of the operation were negotiated until an agreement was reached, always according to 'The Times'.
Barça has been informed at all times of what was happening and assumed that it could only enter the bid if Koundé, who had a good 'feeling' with Xavi Hernández, rejected the possibility of joining the Premier and preferred to continue in Spain.
Koundé hoped that Barça had already made the financial proposal, but was annoyed to see that the Blaugrana club had prioritized Raphinha's arrival before his own. However, he always understood the French defender that the Pole Robert Lewandowski was the first target of the summer. Koundé spoke with Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and said yes I do.
Bid for Inigo
From now on, the Catalans are looking for alternatives, with defender Iñigo Martínez as their first option. Mateu Alemany, Barça's sports director, has already let Jon Uriarte, president of Athletic, know that they want to sign the central defender and that they will send him an important offer in the next few hours. According to Onda Vasca, the Basque center-back already warned the Bilbao club of Barça's interest before the rojiblancos closed Unai Núñez's departure to Celta.
The central player from Ondárroa arrived at San Mamés three and a half years ago after Athletic paid Real Sociedad the 32 million of his release clause by losing Aymeric Laporte, who left for Pep Guardiola's City. Martínez has one more year on his contract and earns around nine million euros per season, but he is facing an exceptional opportunity to sign a great contract and play in the Champions League.
The departure of the international defender, with whom Luis Enrique Martinez is counting on for the Qatar World Cup, would mean a great loss for Athletic, where he has played 159 games and scored seven goals. Since his arrival, he has been indisputable for all the coaches, from Cuco Ziganda to Marcelino García Toral, through Eduardo Berizzo and Gaizka Garitano. Ernesto Valverde, who on his day already wanted him for Barça, considers him a key player.