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Jules Kounde talks about Dembele, Xavi, Lewandowski and goal against Barcelona



Barcelona fought off interest from Chelsea to complete the signing of Jules Kounde from Sevilla this summer. The fee is reportedly in the €50 million (plus add-ons) region, which is inarguably a bargain for a player of the Frenchman’s stature.

As is tradition, Kounde spoke to BarcaTV for his first official interview after joining Barcelona. The man has big dreams and commands a strong presence off the pitch as well.

“I’m very happy, but that does not end here. I am at Barcelona, great. But I want more, I want to be important and I want to win titles. That is what motivates me the most. With the team we have, we have to compete for every single title.”

“As a child, I hated losing. I still do, but I deal with is differently now. I understand that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lost. You need to stay calm,” Kounde added.

The 23-year-old shares a special relationship with Real Madrid’s Aurelien Tchouameni and Karim Benzema, but also made sure to contact Ousmane Dembele when he heard about Barcelona’s interest.

“I spoke to Ousmane [Dembele] when I understood Barcelona was my preferred option. However, that really convinced me was the exciting and ambitious project.”

Barcelona had fallen through European spots under Ronald Koeman’s reign, but Xavi helped them get back up, eventually finishing second in the table. Their second half of the season was special, and Kounde acknowledged the same.

“The team I had to sign for was clear for me after Barcelona’s great moments in the second half of last season.”

Kounde has been at Barcelona for a few weeks now, making his debut in the Joan Gamper Trophy against Pumas UNAM. Training under Xavi, the Frenchman spoke about the manager’s tactics for the defence.

“Xavi always wants high pressure. He wants us to leave a lot of space behind us in defence, so we need to be in good shape, physically.”

“When I heard of the interest about Barcelona and the manager, I did not hesitate,” Kounde said when told about how Xavi was especially stubborn about signing him.

Further, Kounde also revealed his conversation with the coach, who told him about his tactical setup and how he could be an integral part of the puzzle.

“Xavi told me that I was perfect for his system. We talked about football a lot. It’s Xavi, and he was one of the best players ever. The conversation was very good, natural. That is always a good sign.”

He topped this off by saying, “I’m in love with the Barcelona style. I watch a lot of football.”

Kounde will unquestionably go down as one of Sevilla’s best players in recent years. Since his move from Bourdeaux, the Frenchman has been linked with an exit, and always to the big dogs. After three years though, it was time to finally move on.

“It was the time to make the move. I waited until I was ready. More matches, experience in La Liga with a play style I like. I know the teams, their players, their forwards.”

Barcelona and Kounde’s history does not start or end with this transfer, though. He has had a handful of superb performances against the Blaugranas. And of course, who can forget his superb solo goal vs Ronald Koeman’s side in the Copa del Rey.

“My goal against Barca was a ‘golazo’. It shows my ability in possession. I’ve always had the freedom to come out with the ball like that. It’s my favourite goal that I’ve ever scored.”

Kounde has always had the chance to go toe-to-toe against Barcelona’s marquee signing Robert Lewandowski when Sevilla faced Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup in 2020.

The Bavarians ran out winners 2-1 with goals from Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez, but Sevilla took the game to extra-time, with Kounde showing exemplary defensive astuteness.

“When I played against Lewandowski, I was sad because we lost. But I was happy with my good performance. I like to face the best players. Robert is a complete striker, he has everything. I prepared myself very well and was very concentrated.”

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Confirmed Chelsea line up vs Newcastle: Lesley Ugochukwu replaces Moises Caicedo as Palmer start with Gallagher in Midfield #NEWCHE




Mauricio Pochettino makes two changes to his Chelsea team for today’s game at Newcastle.

Benoit Badiashile comes in for his compatriot Axel Disasi in the heart of defence, while Lesley Ugochukwu replaces Moises Caicedo.

Otherwise, it is the same starting XI that began the 4-4 draw against Manchester City prior to the international break

That means Reece James, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella join Badiashile at the back, ahead of Robert Sanchez. Enzo Fernandezand Conor Gallagher continue in midfield, with Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer supplying the width in attack, either side of Nicolas Jackson.

WhatsApp Image 2023 11 25 at 13 53 04

Caicedo and Levi Colwill, who was injured during the recent break, are among those named on the bench.

Alexander Isak returns for Newcastle after injury, but there is no Sean Longstaff.

Chelsea: Sanchez; James (c), Thiago Silva, Badiashile, Cucurella, Enzo, Ugochukwu, Gallagher, Palmer, Jackson, Sterling

Subs: Petrovic, Colwill, Disasi, Maatsen, Caicedo, Matos, Madueke, Mudryk, Broja

Newcastle: Pope, Livramento, Lascelles (c), Schar, Trippier, Guimaraes, Miley, Almiron, Joelinton, Isak, Gordon

Subs: Dubravka, Gillespie, Karius, Dummett, Ritchie, Diallo, Murphy, Ndiweni, Parkinson

Referee Simon Hooper

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How Palmer and Reece James Have Complemented Each Other in Chelsea’s Lineup This Season




Reece James just returned to action for Chelsea this season after recovering from an injury that kept him on the sidelines for weeks but the synergy between the Chelsea Skipper and Cole Palmer has emerged as a pivotal factor in Chelsea’s recent impressive performance.

Their relationship on the pitch showcases a dynamic partnership that has been significantly impacting the team’s overall performance.

One key element of this collaboration is the strategic placement of Cole Palmer in the middle, operating behind the striker.

This positioning capitalizes on Palmer’s unique skill set, acknowledging that he may not possess the blistering pace or sheer physicality to excel in isolated one-on-one situations with defenders.

Instead, Palmer’s strength lies in his ability to receive the ball on the half-turn, exhibiting clever passes that ignite the team’s attacking prowess.

Palmer’s fluid style, characterized by his adept use of pockets and floating movements, creates a symbiotic relationship with Reece James.

James, a versatile right-back, benefits from Palmer’s strategic play by having the freedom to occupy the wing.

This tactical understanding not only maximizes Palmer’s strengths but also amplifies James’s impact on the game.

What becomes evident in this partnership is Palmer essentially playing as a number 10, operating in a role that aligns with his capabilities and enhances the team’s attacking dynamics.

By strategically placing Palmer in a central position, Chelsea leverages his playmaking abilities, allowing him to orchestrate the flow of the game and provide crucial link-up play between the midfield and the strikers.

The tactical harmony between Palmer and James is not just about individual brilliance but also about how their styles complement each other seamlessly.

Palmer’s intelligent movements and distribution empower James to venture forward with confidence, creating a fluid and dynamic attacking unit for Chelsea

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Chelsea eye double £156m transfer swoop as Todd Boehly faces Saudi Arabia questioning




Catch all the biggest Chelsea headlines, including updates on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Todd Boehly’s questionable transfers and Benoit Badiashile

Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
Chelsea are interested in Napoli duo Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Here is your morning Chelsea digest on Friday, November 24.

Kvaratskhelia interest
Chelsea have reportedly joined the race to sign Napoli superstar Khvicha Kvaratskhelia amid ongoing uncertainty over his long-term future with the Italian champions.

According to ESPN, Chelsea have joined the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Newcastle United in holding an interest in Kvaratskhelia. Sources have told the outlet that Napoli value their star player in excess of €100million (£87million) and are hoping to fend off interest with a new and improved contract.

However, as the November international break has proven, Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations aren’t to be messed with and the Blues must get their finances in order to avoid any additional punishment. Todd Boehly has spent over £1billion on new signings since completing his takeover in 2022 and currently has a net spend of over £692million.

Kvaratskhelia isn’t the only Napoli player on Chelsea’s radar, with Victor Osimhen also on Pochettino’s list. However, the pair are worth a combined €180m (£156m) by CIES Football Observatory.

Saudi Arabia transfers questioned
Former Premier League defender Gary Neville has questioned Chelsea’s transfer dealings with Saudi Arabian clubs last summer amid the ongoing threat of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

Ahead of the 2023/24 season, three players left Stamford Bridge to join the Saudi Pro League. N’Golo Kante’s seven-year stay in west London came to an end with a move to Al-Ittihad while Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy joined Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli respectively.

Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, he said: “I have no problem with Saudi Arabia setting up their league and spending as much money as they wish, but I did call for some sort of investigation into the deals Chelsea were doing when they were dumping players onto Saudi Arabian teams at the start of the season.

“It felt as though, to me, it needed a little bit of a look at – you can smell that something is not right.”

Badiashile going nowhere
Chelsea supporters have nothing to worry about in regards to Benoit Badiashile amid reported interest from AC Milan and AS Roma, understands.

According to Calciomercato, the two Italian clubs are keen on signing the central defender ahead of the January transfer window. Milan are without Pierre Kalulu and Marco Pellegrino due to injuries and are doing their best to replace them in the winter.

The report says that the Italian duo want to sign Badiashile on loan, but the defender will be staying at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future, understands. Badiashile’s focus is on Chelsea and getting back into the first-team and he has no intention to move elsewhere at this moment in time.

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