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.
At the same time, they also signed Andreas Christensen on a free transfer from the Blues.
For Kounde, though, the key to his decision was his conversations with Xavi.
He told a news conference:
“I had excellent conversations with Xavi; he always expressed a desire to come here, which was vital for me.
“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 Xavi talked to me about.”
Kounde’s arrival at Barcelona is 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 playing in Spain.
And he 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.
“My coach will ask me to know my teammates as well, which will take time, but it won’t be a problem.
“There is lots of competition; I think it’s perfect for the team.
“It’s good to have a lot of competition in each spot; there are many games, of course.
“What I have to do here is grow and learn. I’m still very young and here to help the team at any given moment.
“Whatever the coach asks of my teammates and me.
“It’s good that there is competition, I’m looking forward to playing.
“And when there’s competition, it’s a challenge, and that’s great.”
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