KEY POINTS

  • Barcelona signed Kounde at $51 million
  • He had been Chelsea's top target since the previous summer window
  • Kounde became Barcelona's sixth signing of the summer

Jules Kounde has revealed FC Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez is one of the major reasons behind him picking the Catalans over Chelsea.

Barcelona signed Kounde from Sevilla at $51 million, reported BBC Sport.

"Barcelona and Sevilla have reached an agreement for the transfer of Jules Olivier Kounde, awaiting the player passing a medical and the signing of contracts," Barcelona wrote in an official release.

Kounde, who spent three seasons at Sevilla from 2019 to 2022, has established himself as one of the best center-backs in La Liga. At the end of last season, Kounde decided that it was time for him to move on and make a big switch in his career.

The 23-year-old had been Chelsea’s target since the previous summer window. Until last week, the Blues were certain of having secured their target signing before Xavi’s intervention ruined Stamford Bridge’s plans.

"The coach, Xavi, is one of the big reasons why I am here, too. I spoke with him several times. The way he spoke was captivating. We had some good conversations and we see football in the same way. Now it's a question of coming into the team, settling in and giving my all to have as many minutes as possible and an important role in the side," Kounde told ESPN.

Sergio Oliveira of Portugal battles for possession with Jules Kounde of France
Sergio Oliveira of Portugal battles for possession with Jules Kounde of France Getty Images | Alex Livesey - UEFA/UEFA

Kounde is Barcelona's sixth signing of the summer following the arrivals of Pablo Torre, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, and Robert Lewandowski.

The Paris-born defender went on to add that he was "very proud and grateful” for the opportunity and was excited about “joining a great club with a great team."

"I am looking forward to getting going with the team and giving my best. Sevilla are a great club as well, of course, but Barca represent the next step in my career at every level. I want to compete in all competitions and try to win as much as possible, that is why I am here," Kounde added in the interview.

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are on the lookout for central defenders this summer and want to sign at least three. They recently secured a deal for Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli. Now that they have lost the battle for Kounde, it has been reported that Chelsea are interested in signing Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar and are willing to pay around $51 million for the Slovakian center-back.

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