It wasn’t so much a gazumping as Chelsea having second thoughts, claims Sevilla sporting director Monchi in an interview / PR-exercise that tells their version of the Jules Koundé saga, which ended (or is about to end) with the 23-year-old signing for Barcelona after almost signing for Chelsea this summer and last, and for Manchester City the summer before that.
While this smacks of Monchi and his club trying to save face after strengthening an in-division rival yet again, if we take it at face value, it also sounds like Chelsea did develop actual doubts whether Koundé is someone we truly need. Whether that’s in light of giving someone else the opportunity — Colwill? Azpilicueta? — or having a different transfer target in mind — please say Škriniar, please say Škriniar — I guess we’ll have to just wait and see to find out.
It’s a long interview, but here are the relevant bits:
“There were more suitors for Koundé at the beginning of the market than at the end, and above all, the one who has stayed is Chelsea, who in the last month have kept us busy and negotiating to the point that last Thursday we reached a verbal agreement and so did the player.”
“Football never ceases to surprise you. Chelsea began to have doubts and pulled out. They didn’t doubt Jules’ quality but his place within the squad.”
“Everything stopped over the weekend, and then Barcelona appeared. It’s important to mention this, but the first time Alemany got in contact was on Monday. He showed his interest in signing Koundé.”
“We received an offer that was lower than what we had in mind, but we renegotiated with them and reached an agreement for a club-record sale” [...] It was a very good offer, and without payments to intermediaries. Whether we like it or not, the market sets the guidelines and dictates the prices. The offers we had two years ago from Manchester City, last year from Chelsea and this year from Manchester City and Barcelona were for the same amount.”
“On Thursday night Koundé was ‘sold’ to Chelsea, for a fee accepted by all parties. They began to have doubts and pulled out. Due to situations that arise sometimes, no matter how long you’ve been in this world, there was some movement at Chelsea that made them doubt whether they needed a player with Koundé’s profile.”
“They waited a bit and that wait went on until Barcelona appeared. Chelsea came back again, but Barcelona’s offer was better. When you have two options on the table, you play with them and the player was satisfied with going to Barcelona, with better conditions for our club.”
-Monchi; source: Sevilla FC
I still wish them nothing but slow Wi-Fi and itchy feet.