“I was close to signing”: 23-year-old star reveals why he turned down Chelsea this summer

Jules Kounde reveals why he chose moving to Barcelona over Chelsea in the summer

Speaking to French outlet L’Equipe (h/t Mirror), Jules Kounde has revealed that he was close to joining Chelsea, but the Frenchman was impressed by a phone call from Xavi more compared to what the Blues and their former manager Thomas Tuchel had put out.

Kounde was a leading target for Chelsea during this summer window, 12 months on from their initial interest in the player. The agreement between both parties was achieved verbally this time, only for Barcelona to swoop in late and sign the defender for £41.85m.

The versatility of the 23-year-old means that he is currently one of the important players at Barcelona. He can play both as a centre-back and right-back.

Chelsea rekindle Jules Kounde interest following Nathan Ake setback.
Chelsea had an agreement with Jules Kounde before Barcelona swooped in. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Talking about the transfer situation, here’s Kounde (h/t Mirror):

“I was close to signing for Chelsea this summer. They were talking to me and Barcelona were interested too, but there were always doubts from them. The moment that changed the situation was the phone call from Xavi, I did not hesitate from there.”

He was also asked about whether Tuchel called him to sell the Chelsea project. The defender confirmed that the German did call him but he preferred the pitch from Xavi and the Spanish giants.

The Blues eventually signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli to fill one of their vacant centre-back spots after the departure of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

This was not the only instance of Barcelona signing a Chelsea target this past summer. The Blues had an agreement with Leeds United in place to sign the winger Raphinha, but the Blaugranas stepped in and signed the Brazil international.

Franck Kessie and Jules Kounde celebrate for Barcelona after they score against Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League.
Franck Kessie and Jules Kounde celebrate for Barcelona after they score against Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Given Kounde’s age (23) and the sort of quality and versatility he can bring, it is certainly a missed opportunity from the Blues in their failure to complete the signing of the Frenchman.

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Nothing can be done about the past though. The other reason why the player did not prefer joining Chelsea could be around the transition phase of the club with the new takeover. So, naturally, he may have had doubts regarding the future of this new project.