JULES Kounde has claimed that he snubbed Chelsea over a move to Barcelona because Xavi is a better communicator than Thomas Tuchel.
The French international looked on course to make the switch to Stamford Bridge from Sevilla earlier this summer, only for the La Liga giants to swoop in and secure his services in a £55m deal ahead of the new season.
He told L’Equipe: “First, I come to a huge club, which has known good times and which, lately, has had less.’
‘I come to a project that I would not call reconstruction, because we already have a competitive team, but rather, being upturned.
‘I was interested in being part of this new wave, in search of titles, and to put Barça back where it has always been, among the best clubs.
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‘Then there was the conversation with the coach.
“We talked about football, mainly. I felt a real confidence from him, that he had a real knowledge of myself, my game and my qualities.’
‘I spoke with Tuchel and I also felt that he wanted me to come but I simply preferred Xavi’s speech’.
Despite being ineligable for the first two games after the club were unable to register him, Kounde has enjoyed a strong start to his Barca career since coming into the team.
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He has started three of the last four La Liga matches to help Xavi’s men remain unbeaten and stay two points behind leaders Real Madrid, while he’s been ever-present in the Champions League.
But Kounde was mocked by Chelsea defender Thiago Silva following Barca’s 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Silva shared a photo on Instagram with a caption that read ‘he almost joined us’, clearly taking a swipe at Kounde after his side were beaten for the first time this season.
Chelsea hardly fared much better 24 hours later after Graham Potter’s opening game in charge was a 1-1 draw against Salzburg, leaving them winless in Europe.