The former Sevilla defender was presented as a new Barça player and hopes to “reach the top” in his new stage
“I am very happy and proud to join this great club. Very grateful to the president and the fans, who have shown me a lot of affection. All that remains is to train hard and win », Jules Koundé assured this Monday at the launch of him as a new Barcelona player. The 23-year-old French defender was officially presented at the Ciutat Esportiva Camp Tito Vilanova and will be available to Xavi Hernández for Barça’s last pre-season game, on Sunday against Pumas in the Joan Gamper Trophy.
Koundé’s has been one of the most anticipated presentations of Barcelona throughout the summer. The culés had to wait for the activation of the ‘levers’ and had to compete with Chelsea and convince the player to bet on Xavi’s project. It is not surprising that, once again, Joan Laporta was satisfied with a new reinforcement. «It is a highly desired signing and I thank you for the effort you have made to come. You have waited for us and we like the players who want to come to Barça”, assured the Barça president after stamping both signatures on the contract that will bind the player to Barça until 2027.
Immediately afterwards, the two protagonists jumped onto the pitch at Camp Tito Vilanova, where Koundé put on his new jersey without a bib while waiting for starts, gave his first touches as a Barça player and posed for the media. The former Sevilla player, who ends up at Barça for 50 million fixed euros and 10 more in variables, was ambitious. “I really want to join the team to fight to get to the top”, said the young centre-back, who arrives to reinforce a defense that already has Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Gerard Piqué, Eric García and Samuel Umtiti, a player who at this time it still belongs to the entity.
To get to Barça, Koundé had to let the Chelsea train pass first. The London club first reached an agreement in principle with Sevilla, but ran into the will of a player who only wanted to wear Barça. “Chelsea loved me, but I chose Barça because I wanted to get here, it was not an effort for me,” said Koundé, who believes that he will have an advantage in this new stage by continuing in Spanish football. “It will make it easier for me to adapt to what Barça asks of me,” he said in this regard.
Xavi will play a fundamental role in this adaptation. The Catalan coach requested the arrival of the French footballer before the market started and in the midst of a dispute with Chelsea over the transfer, he called Koundé to convince him to join Barça. «The conversations were fluid. I felt his affection, he really wanted him to come and that is important to me. He has asked me to do what he did at Sevilla: get the ball from behind, be aggressive and have a commitment to a club as big and demanding as Barça, “said the defender.
The next step
After the arrivals of Christensen, Kessié, Raphinha, Lewandowski and Koundé, Barça has set to work to be able to register the signings before August 12, the date on which the League will kick off. Laporta launched a message of optimism in this regard. “We do everything they ask to register them. I guess they won’t hinder us. I hope that LaLiga makes the same interpretation as us, if not, we will solve it », he assured, at the same time that he underlined « having carried out the necessary operations » and that « the exits will help ».
This exit section is crucial so that Barça can face the following transfer operations, such as Marcos Alonso, César Azpilicueta or Bernardo Silva. “All the players know their situation and we hope for their good and for our stability that the operations are carried out. Work is being done,” said Barcelona’s director of football, Mateu Alemany, while Laporta ruled out further reinforcements for the time being. “First you have to register the players and make the exit of those who do not count. Then we’ll see what we can do, “concluded the culé president.