Kounde details Xavi role in choosing Barcelona over Chelsea

By Sports Desk August 01, 2022

Jules Kounde has detailed the role Xavi played in bringing the defender to Barcelona from Sevilla, describing how "important" it was the coach was pushing for the deal.

The 23-year-old was long courted by Premier League outfit Chelsea, who were widely reported to be set to secure a deal before Barcelona moved to hijack the agreement.

It was the second time in the window a late Barca move had frustrated the English side, with the Blaugrana beating them to the signature of Raphinha from Leeds United, while they also signed Andreas Christensen on a free transfer from the Blues.

For Kounde, though, the key to his decision was the conversations he had with Xavi.

"I had some good conversations with Xavi, he always expressed desire for me to come here, and that was important for me," he told a news conference.

"This is an important moment in my career, and in the conversations, he asked me to continue to do what I was doing in Sevilla, to continue to be aggressive, bring the ball out from the back, distribute, those are some of my strengths. 

"Barcelona is a great club, very demanding as well, and that's something that Xavi talked to me about."

Kounde's arrival at Barcelona comes as part of a significant recruitment drive from Xavi's side, with Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Christensen and Franck Kessie fellow new arrivals.

However, the France international has an advantage due to his experience of playing in Spain and believes he will quickly settle into the club.

"My knowledge of the league is going to make it easier to adapt as soon as possible, to adapt to the Barcelona style as well," he explained.

"My coach is obviously going to ask me to know my team-mates as well, and that's going to take time, but it won't be a problem.

"There is lots of competition, I think it's very good for the team. It's good to have a lot of competition in each spot; there are lots of games, of course.

"What I have to do here is grow and learn. I'm very young still, and I'm here to help the team at any given moment, whatever the coach asks of me and my team-mates.

"It's good that there is competition, I'm really looking forward to playing, and when there's competition, it's a challenge and that's great."

Related items

  • Malang Sarr leaves Chelsea for Monaco on loan with purchase option Malang Sarr leaves Chelsea for Monaco on loan with purchase option

    Chelsea have allowed Malang Sarr to join Monaco on loan with an option to buy.

    The 23-year-old centre-back will move to the Ligue 1 club for the 2022-23 season, with Monaco then able to make the arrangement permanent for a reported €15million (£12.7m).

    Monaco's purchase option could become mandatory if certain conditions are met, according to widespread reports.

    Sarr joined Chelsea on a free transfer in August 2020 but was soon sent out on loan to Porto, where he made 19 appearances across all competitions.

    He returned to Stamford Bridge for the 2021-22 season and became a member of the first-team squad, playing 21 times on all fronts, though only eight of those were in the Premier League.

    In joining Monaco, Sarr returns to Ligue 1 after a two-year absence having previously been regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe during his breakthrough as a teenager at Nice.

    Sarr is Monaco's fourth signing of the window after Takumi Minamino, Breel Embolo and Thomas Didillon.

    Monaco saw their Champions League qualification hopes ended on Tuesday when a 3-2 defeat after extra time away to PSV saw them suffer a 4-3 aggregate loss in the penultimate stage of qualifying.

     

  • Bernardo Silva irritated by Man City players not getting due credit Bernardo Silva irritated by Man City players not getting due credit

    Bernardo Silva is frustrated about Manchester City players apparently not getting as much credit as they deserve.

    City have won four of the past five Premier League titles, a feat only previously managed by Alex Ferguson's Manchester United.

    Pep Guardiola's arrival in 2016 has undoubtedly had an impact on their domination, with the Catalan coach quickly establishing a team identity that has made them one of the most entertaining and ruthless sides in Europe.

    But Bernardo, who joined a year after Guardiola, thinks City are not as appreciated as they should be, with the Portugal international suggesting the end-of-season awards are evidence of this.

    Last season, the Professional Footballers' Association's (PFA) Team of the Year contained only three City players – including Bernardo – to Liverpool's six and Jurgen Klopp took the managers' award, despite City winning the title.

    While that does appear to be an anomaly, with City boasting the most Team of the Year representatives and Guardiola claiming the managers' prize in each of their previous three title-winning campaigns before last season, Bernardo still feels the champions are judged differently to the rest.

    Asked specifically if he gets the praise he deserves, Bernardo – who took the opportunity to go off on a bit of a tangent – told ESPN: "From Man City fans, definitely. I feel a lot of support, and they show a lot of appreciation for what I do.

    "From outside, it's difficult. I'm not complaining here, but I feel like other clubs get a lot more credit than Man City for doing less.

    "For example, when I was at Benfica – a huge club in Portugal with more fans, more everything – you do something nice and they make it look like it's great. Here at Man City, you do something great and they make it look like it's just good.

    "Again, I'm not complaining, but playing in the Premier League and winning four titles in five years and checking the Premier League Team of the Year every year and knowing that we're never the team that has the most players.

    "We don't have the best manager, we don't have the best players, but we still win four Premier Leagues in five years? It just doesn't make sense. It probably shows that Man City players don't get as much credit as they should.

    "For me, it doesn't matter honestly. I'm happy with the titles that we have and with the memories that in the last five years, we won four times. Of course, we don't get the credit that we deserve."

  • Bernardo Silva says Man City 'know what I want' amid Barcelona links Bernardo Silva says Man City 'know what I want' amid Barcelona links

    Bernardo Silva expects any developments around his Manchester City future to be "very respectful" but says the club "know what I want".

    Silva has been an outstanding performer for City since signing from Monaco in 2017, winning four Premier League titles in five years.

    But he has been linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium in this transfer window, with big-spending Barcelona said to be interested.

    It has been suggested Silva would be keen to join Barca, and the midfielder did not rule out the possibility of a transfer in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN.

    "I've always said that I'm happy here, but I have no idea what's going to happen," Silva said. "We'll see, honestly.

    "My relationship with the club is very honest. I've been open with them, and they know what I want.

    "If I stay, I'm very happy, and I will always respect this club and give all my best. If not, it's football and we'll just see what happens.

    "It's a big club, and they don't want players who are not happy at the club. They always say to all of us that if you're not happy, you can go.

    "Of course, they are in business and they want the right amount of money for letting us go, but personally it's a relationship with the club that is very respectful.

    "They have always been honest with me, and I have always been honest with them.

    "As I said, I will always respect my relationship with Man City, with the fans, with the staff, with my team-mates, so whatever happens happens, and for sure, it will happen in a very respectful way."

    Having started 33 matches in the Premier League last season, Silva was a substitute in Sunday's opening win over West Ham, appearing for the final 12 minutes.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.