Barcelona have won the race to sign Sevilla star Jules Kounde – but he could be set for an awkward reunion with Jordi Alba once he steps through the doors at the Nou Camp.
Kounde had been at the centre of a tug-of-war throughout the summer, with Barcelona and Chelsea both vying for his signature. But in the end, the Frenchman decided to stay in La Liga with Barca instead of moving to the Premier League, putting pen to paper on a five-year deal with the Catalan club.
The 23-year-old will count veteran star Alba among his team-mates at the Nou Camp, but it could be something of a frosty reunion when the pair cross paths in training for the first time.
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Kounde and Alba had a fiery run-in when Barcelona met Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last December. Kounde was sent for an early bath as he let his temper get the better of him during an ill-tempered contest.
After shepherding the ball out of play for a throw-in, Kounde received a shove in the back from Alba as he went to retrieve it. That didn't go down particularly well with the Sevilla defender, who picked up the ball and fired it straight into the direction of Alba's face from close range.
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Replays appeared to show the ball hitting Alba on the shoulder rather than the face. But that didn't matter as the Spain star hit the deck like a sack of Spanish spuds, giving the referee little option but to give Kounde his marching orders.
Now they're set for a potentially awkward reunion after Barcelona confirmed that an agreement had been reached in principle for Kounde. Speaking following confirmation of his £46million move, Kounde revealed why he opted for the Nou Camp over Stamford Bridge.
"The coach, Xavi, is one of the big reasons why I am here, too," the 23-year-old said. "I spoke with him several times. The way he spoke was captivating. We had some good conversations and we see football in the same way. Now it’s a question of coming into the team, settling in and giving my all to have as many minutes as possible and an important role in the side."
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