Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed that Jules Kounde is heading to Chelsea.
Laporta was recorded telling a fan that Kounde was due to sign for their west London rivals, though it remains to be seen if he was being serious.
Some Catalan media sources believe that the Barca president was joking and that his comments do not mean La Blaugrana are out of the chase.
Chelsea are hoping that the Kounde deal will accelerate before the weekend and that he will be able to join them ahead of their final pre-season game with Udinese next Friday.
90min confirmed earlier this week that Chelsea had agreed terms with Sevilla for the player. But Barcelona, having sealed Robert Lewandowski’s signature earlier this week, made their own move for Kounde at the behest of head coach Xavi.
Barca have not agreed a deal with Sevilla, but the player has been keeping his options open rather than finalising his move to Stamford Bridge.
Indeed Kounde decided to go on Sevilla’s pre-season tour of Portugal rather than stay home – which he had been given permission to do, following minor pelvic surgery last month.