Jules Kounde reveals how close he came to joining Man City

Michael Graham
Jules Kounde in La Liga action for Barcelona
Jules Kounde in La Liga action for Barcelona / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Barcelona defender Jules Kounde has claimed he almost signed for Manchester City two years ago following a discussion with Pep Guardiola.

The Frenchman joined Barcelona from Sevilla this summer in a deal worth €55m, although before that he appeared destined to move to the Premier League instead. Chelsea were strongly linked but despite pursuing a move for around a year, they couldn’t get agree a fee with Sevilla.

Kounde has now confirmed, though, that City made attempts to sign him a year earlier. They eventually settled on Ruben Dias instead, although the 23-year-old admitted it did get as far as a phone call.

Asked by El Pais if the rumours of Pep Guardiola once attempting to sign him for Manchester City were true, Kounde said: “Yes, in my first year at Sevilla. He called me. He told me that he loved me and that he thought I would fit the way he played.”

Kounde finally got his big move last summer, with Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez succeeding where his former teammate and coach had failed. The Frenchman, though, said there were a lot of similarities between Xavi and Guardiola.

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“At a certain point, yes. I talked a lot about football with both of them. And that’s what I like,” he recalled.

“The first thing, in the conversations I had with them, I realised that they had both seen me play. They knew my capabilities perfectly. They didn’t talk just to talk. They were very precise conversations.”