Jules Kounde has explained why he snubbed Chelsea in favour of a move to Catalan giants FC Barcelona.
The Blues were long-time admirers of the French central defender and had agreed personal terms with the player in 2021.
After failing to agree on a fee with Sevilla, they returned this summer but faced competition for his signature in Barcelona.
The La Liga club were very active in the summer transfer window despite their ongoing financial struggles.
They brought in Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski and Kounde for a combined £137million.
Xavi’s side were also able to land free agents Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen from AC Milan and Chelsea respectively.
Chelsea were actually the frontrunners to sign Raphinha from Leeds United after their Premier League rivals accepted a bid in the region of £60m.
The Brazilian’s dream was always to sign for Barcelona, however.
Barca swooped in and stole Raphinha from under the Blues’ noses, before doing the same with Kounde.
Chelsea would get their own back by taking Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his monstrous wages off their hands. That’ll show ’em.
Kounde has revealed that he spoke to former Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel before opting to join the Blaugrana.
It was, however, Barca boss Xavi who convinced him to move to Catalonia.
The idea of helping the club reach the summit of European and Spanish football once again was a huge selling point, the Frenchman said.
“First, I come to a huge club, which has known good times and which, lately, has had less,” Kounde told French outlet L’Equipe.
“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.
“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.”
Kounde said that Xavi’s speech was simply better than that of Tuchel – who lost his job earlier this month.
“I spoke with Tuchel and I also felt that he wanted me to come but I simply preferred Xavi’s speech,” he added.
A lot has been said since Kounde’s move to Barca was complete.
Speaking in July, Sevilla director Monchi revealed that Chelsea had stalled after everything seemed in place for them to complete the signing of the 23-year-old.
And Kounde has also said that choosing Barca over the Premier League club was an “easy choice”. Ouch.