Barcelona and former Sevilla defender Jules Kounde revealed Chelsea’s interest in signing him over the summer. He was close to doing a deal with the London club but had a change of mind with Barcelona coming into the picture.
Chelsea has long had their sights on Kounde and monitored his progress at Sevilla for years, and came close to joining the London club in 2021, and was again a target for the club in the 2022 summer transfer window but lost out on the defender to Barcelona despite having their bid accepted first by the selling club (Sevilla).
Manchester City was also interested in signing the French international player but failed to get a deal materialized.
Kounde has been speaking to L’Equipe and revealed that both Chelsea and Manchester City expressed interest in him before he decided to sign for Barcelona.
He had to say this when asked why he snubbed the two clubs in favour of Barcelona.
“I’ve joined a huge club, which has known good times but recently has seen fewer. I’m coming to a project that I wouldn’t describe as a rebuild because there was already a competitive team, but rather a rebound.
“I was interested in being part of this new wave, in search of titles, and putting Barça back where they have always been, among the best.
“Then, there was the conversation with the manager. We talked about football, mainly. I felt confident, a real knowledge of my game and my qualities.”
He also revealed what the Barcelona coach (Xavi Hernandez) said to convince him to sign for the club.
“That my qualities correspond to his game plan. Starting from the back, playing high and using my skills of speed and anticipation.
“He always wants an aggressive team. We are one of the team that presses highest and runs the most. He saw me in this system, and I did too. I saw myself in this team that I watched make a crazy rise up the table. With Sevilla, we were 15 points ahead of them midway through last season, and Barça, with Xavi, had a superb second half of the season.
“I watched them play a lot. I saw the changes Xavi made and in which direction he was going. I liked it.”
He was asked if he was frustrated over his failed move to Chelsea in 2021.
“The time of frustration did not last long. It’s not good to be in that state of mind, and I immediately had in my head the desire to get back to work.
“I wasn’t at my best then, but that was not related to this non-transfer. I still had a good season which allowed me to have options the following summer.”
“It is true that I was not far from signing there this summer. Barça was interested but had concerns, but when I got that phone call, and I felt there was a possibility they could bring me in, I did not hesitate for long.”