The six players at centre of Chelsea-Barcelona transfer war

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • Updated: 17 Jul 2022 19:17 BST
  • 3 min read
FT Desk Updated: 17 Jul 2022 19:17 BST 3 min read
Jules Kounde, Sevilla, 2021/22

Chelsea versus Barcelona. It is a rivalry that first emerged in Jose Mourinho’s first spell in charge of the Blues before really hitting its peak during that infamous Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge in 2009.

Thirteen years on from that dramatic game, in which Chelsea had numerous penalty appeals turned down before Andres Iniesta scored an equaliser deep into injury-time, the rivalry has reignited this summer.

It started with Andreas Christensen refusing to sign a new Chelsea contract in order to join Barcelona on a Bosman transfer.

Chelsea and Barcelona then went head-to-head for Leeds winger Raphinha. The Blues had been in the lead in the race at the start of the year before their transfer ban slowed matters. Nevertheless, Chelsea were still expecting to sign Raphinha after agreeing a transfer fee with Leeds long before Barcelona this month.

But the Brazilian insisted on waiting for Barcelona and subsequently completed a €65 million transfer this week.

Chelsea enacted some revenge as they beat Barcelona – and Juventus – to the signing of Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly. All three teams plan to sign two centre-backs this summer, but it was Chelsea who completed a deal for the giant Senegal star.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Napoli, 2021/22

Chelsea and Barcelona are also now both going head-to-head for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde. The Blues had made Kounde their primary defensive target a few months back, only to cool their interest a bit in recent weeks.

Barcelona have emerged as favourites to buy the Frenchman but reports in Spain on Sunday claim that Chelsea are now making a new, strong move to beat them to the punch.

Regardless of where Kounde ends up, that will not be the end of the transfer war between Chelsea and Barcelona.

The Blaugrana are planning to sign a right back and left back and have made Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso.

In this case, Chelsea are happy to let both veterans go at the right price.