Barcelona reveal Jules Kounde’s agent called them ‘almost every day’ about a Nou Camp move, despite also being in talks with Chelsea… as the Spanish giants insist their relationship with the Blues is ‘very good’ despite gazumping them TWICE now
Barcelona have admitted Jules Kounde was practically a Chelsea player last week before they stepped in to take him to the Camp Nou.
The club’s director of football Mateu Alemany said the player’s own preference for playing for Barcelona, and Barça releasing more funds by selling off a greater chunk of its future TV rights was the key to snatching him from Chelsea’s grasp.
Alemany said: ‘Almost every day they (Kounde’s team) called me for an update because Kounde wanted to join Barça and he was waiting for us.
Jules Kounde poses in his new Barcelona shirt but was on the brink of joining Chelsea
The defender moved to the Nou Camp after turning down Stamford Bridge in favour of Spain
‘In the end I had to tell Jonathan (Kebe, the player’s agent) not to call anymore because I didn’t know what to tell him.
‘When we sold the second portion of future TV rights, Kounde had almost closed his deal with another club. But he wanted to come to Barça.’
The comments confirm that the French defender was stalling his move to Chelsea in the hope that Barcelona would release funds to sign him.
Barcelona have spent 158 millones euros so far this summer, funded by the sell off of, first 10 per cent, and then a further 15 per cent, of future TV rights to the investment fund Sixth Street.
Thomas Tuchel failed in his attempt to sign Jules Kounde and make him part of his squad
Those sales have generated over 500m euros and the spending is not over yet with Cesar Azpilicueta still a target.
Alemany said he did not believe the Kounde and Raphinha deals had soured relations with Chelsea to the extent that they might now struggle to do business with them over the experienced Spain international.
He added: ‘We have a very good relationship with Chelsea. We had dinner with the club’s owner (Todd Boehly). It’s possible that we have interest in another one of their players but I don’t want to talk about players who have contracts at other clubs.’
Barcelona are still keen to sign Chelsea’s Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta this summer
Xavi asked the club to sign Azpilicueta as far back as last January. He called the player personally but Azpilicueta did not want to leave Chelsea mid-season. Xavi wants the 32-year-old alongside Kounde, Ronald Araujo and Jordi Alba in his first choice defence this season.
Kounde confirmed his preference for Barcelona during his presentation on Monday when he said: ‘Yes Chelsea wanted me but I chose Barça. It wasn’t difficult for me.’
The player confirmed that Barcelona coach Xavi had played a big part in his move. He said: ‘I had good conversations with Xavi and he showed me that he wanted me to come here.’
Barcelona president Joan Laporta addressed Kounde directly in his presentation saying: ‘We are grateful for the effort you have made to come here. We want players that want to play for Barcelona. Xavi wanted us to sign you. I’m sure you will be very successful.’
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