Barcelona has reached an agreement in principle to sign French international defender Jules Kounde from Sevilla, both LaLiga clubs said on Thursday.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. According to media reports, Barcelona will pay 55 million euros ($55.82 million) for the 23-year-old centre back.
“The official nature of the deal is dependent on the player passing a medical and the signing of contracts,” Barca said in a statement.
Chelsea had made several bids for Kounde during last year’s transfer window and reports suggested he was close to joining the Premier League club this month before Barcelona made a late push.
Barcelona, which also beat Chelsea to the signing of Brazilian winger Raphinha from Leeds United earlier this month, finished second in La Liga last season.
Kounde arrives in Catalonia after three years with Sevilla, where he made over 100 appearances in all competitions and won the Europa League title in his first season after joining from Ligue 1 side Bordeaux in 2019.
Barcelona has already strengthened its backline this summer with the addition of centre-back Andreas Christensen on a free transfer from Chelsea.
It also signed Polish forward Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich and Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie, both on free transfers, in a busy transfer window despite being plagued by major financial problems.
The club’s spending has been fuelled by the sale of 25% of its domestic television rights to investment firm Sixth Street for the next 25 years.
However, Barcelona needs to meet LaLiga’s salary cap to be able to register its new signings.
Xavi Hernandez’s side will begin their LaLiga campaign at home to Rayo Vallecano on August 13.