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Chelsea, Leeds hopes ruined as Barcelona take defiant stance over American star Sergino Dest

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Chelsea and Leeds have been handed a major setback in their respective pursuits of Sergino Dest, as a report states Barcelona want to keep him in Spain.

Dest developed in Ajax’s famed academy before gaining promotion to their senior side in September 2019. He made 38 appearances for the Dutch outfit, helping them to win the domestic Super Cup two years ago.

The right-back’s impressive displays in the Eredivisie earned him a transfer to Barcelona in October 2020. They paid Ajax just under £24million for his services.

Dest featured 44 times during his debut season at the Nou Camp. He showed versatility by operating as a right-back, right wing-back and left-back.

His place in the first team came under threat over the summer as Barca reunited with serial winner Dani Alves.

USA international Dest, who is on 17 caps so far, remains an important player under Xavi though. His record stands at three assists in 31 matches this term, which includes 21 outings in La Liga.

Chelsea were plotting a January transfer for Dest to improve Thomas Tuchel’s defensive options. He likely would have become Reece James’ backup.

Chelsea could not get a deal over the line and the 21-year-old remained in Catalonia. They still hold an interest, although it has cooled somewhat.

Sergino Dest named as Leeds target

More recently it has been Leeds pursuing Dest. In late March, TEAMtalk exclusively revealed the Whites to be preparing to move for him.

They also want Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Brenden Aaronson. It is thought the two Americans could work well with compatriot and coach Jesse Marsch.

ESPN provide an update on Dest’s situation at Barca, and it is bad news for Chelsea and Leeds. They claim the Holland-born defender has ‘turned his situation around’ at the club and is now likely to stay.

Xavi had reservations early on about whether he could cut it at the top level in Spain. But training hard and good performances on the pitch have seen Dest earn the trust of his manager.

As such, Barca now view him as a member of their long-term plan, which also includes the likes of Pedri and Gavi.

ESPN state Barca are open to selling some of their first-team players if the right fee is offered. The huge debt has forced their hand in this regard.

However, Dest has a future with the Blaugrana and will therefore cost Chelsea or Leeds big money, should they launch a move.

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