Brighton and Hove Albion have released an official statement claiming that they have not agreed to sell Marc Cucurella, contrary to widespread reports.
It had been reported on Wednesday evening that Chelsea had beaten Manchester City to the signing of the Spanish defender, agreeing a £50million fee with the Seagulls.
He would become the Blues third signing of the summer, after Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, and would have brought an end to their long quest to acquire a left-sided defender, with Cucurella capable of playing at wing-back, full-back, and in a back-three.
However, a message from Brighton’s Twitter account later that night read: ‘Contrary to inaccurate reports from numerous media outlets this evening, no agreement has been reached with any club to sell Marc Cucurella.’
It is said that the deal has not been completed as there has been a delay in the sale of Levi Colwill to Graham Potter’s side, who has been used as a bargaining chip in the Cucurella transfer.
Colwill, Chelsea’s young and highly-rated centre-back, has been linked with various Premier League clubs this summer, and could move to Brighton for around £20m.
Cucurella enjoyed a successful first season at Brighton in the last campaign, having moved from Getafe for £15m, helping the Seagulls to a best ever Premier League finish of ninth place.
Earlier this summer, City stepped up their interest in the 24-year-old, with Pep Guardiola’s side in need of a new left-back following the departure of Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal.
However, the Citizens were unwilling to pay above £40m for the player, leading Chelsea to swoop in and hijack the transfer by offering Brighton the £10m more that they were holding out for.
To sweeten the deal, the Blues also offered Colwill as a direct replacement, something that may have appealed to Potter given the player’s quality and the need to find a new defender quickly with the new season just days away.
While this news does not mean that the deal is off for good, it does make it very unlikely that Cucurella will sign before Chelsea’s first game of the season, a trip to Frank Lampard’s Everton on Saturday evening.
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