Barcelona have received a major boost in their pursuit of Jules Kounde, with Sevilla open to accepting players as part of the deal to bring down the asking price. Xavi Hernandez has made signing a top quality centre-back a priority this summer and the Frenchman is top of his wanted list.

The Catalan club have Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo in their ranks and have an agreement in place with Chelsea centre-back Andreas Christensen to join on a free transfer. Kounde is being touted as a long-term replacement for veteran Gerard Pique, who is in the twilight of his illustrious career.

The former Spain international has struggled with injury issues, and Xavi is uncertain of his availability on a regular basis next season. The France international has proven himself with Sevilla and is now being targeted by a number of top clubs across Europe.

Barcelona are aware of the player's €90 million release clause, which the Andalusian club is expected to demand from interested suitors. The Catalan giants' ongoing financial problems will see them struggle to match Sevilla's demands, and hence have offered a number of players in exchange.

Jules Kounde
Jules Kounde (L) has been linked with a move to Chelsea in the summer CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP

According to Mundo Deportivo, Sevilla are open to accepting players as part of the deal to bring down the asking price. Barcelona are expected to offer Sergino Dest and Clement Lenglet to their La Liga rivals in order to get a break on the €90 million demand.

Sevilla are open to taking Dest, whom they have followed for a number of years. They view the United States international as an ideal replacement for the ageing Jesus Navas at right-back or in right midfield. However, they are not keen on reuniting with Lenglet, who has been out of favour at the Camp Nou in recent seasons.

Dest alone is unlikely to drop the price to Barcelona's current level, and the Catalan club will have to offer other players with value to Sevilla. Oscar Mingueza and Rique Puig have been mentioned as potential makeweights that could interest the Andalusian outfit.

However, Barcelona will not have it easy in their pursuit of Kounde, who is wanted by a number of clubs. Chelsea have been frontrunners since last summer, when they were close to signing the French defender.

The Blues are losing a number of defensive players this summer with Christensen and Antonio Rudiger joining Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. Thomas Tuchel will be keen to replace them with a top quality centre-back and Kounde is among the best available this summer.

Apart from Chelsea, who will have the funds available once the sale of the club goes through, Saudi Arabia-backed Newcastle United are also on Kounde's trail. It is almost certain that the Frenchman will leave the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium this summer, but it remains to be seen who can match Sevilla's demands.

Thomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel is the new man in charge at Chelsea Frank Augstein/POOL