The France international was unveiled to the media on Monday after completing his transfer to Barcelona.
Jules Kounde has explained how his chats with Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez proved decisive in his decision to join the club.
The 23-year-old defender appeared to be on the brink of a transfer to Premier League outfit Chelsea, only for Barcelona to swoop in and hijack the move in a deal reportedly worth €50 million.
“It’s true that I had the opportunity to sign for Chelsea, but we had to wait for Barca to find an agreement with Sevilla,” Kounde told reporters at his unveiling in Barcelona on Monday.
“When I saw that it was possible, I chose Barcelona. I was very clear about that. It’s a big club and an ambitious project.”
Xavi conversations were key
For Kounde, a key factor that led to his decision to join the Blaugrana was his conversations with the head coach.
“I had some good conversations with Xavi. He always expressed a desire for me to come here, and that was important for me,” the Frenchman revealed.
“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.”
Barcelona’s director of football Mateu Alemany added Kounde was always keen on the club. His agent apparently called him daily to discuss a potential move.
The former Sevilla and Bordeaux star has signed a five-season contract at Barcelona with a release clause of €1 billion.