Jules Kounde put his name on the map last night against Barcelona in the semi-final first-leg of the Copa del Rey, when he scored and maintained a clean sheet for Sevilla in a 2-0 win. His development and potential, however, has been evident for some time, as explained by Marca.
Kounde lives in Seville, going through lockdown alone. He appreciated the solitude in many ways, so driven is he in realising his potential and becoming the best. His tenacity and drive are undoubted, but that doesn’t make him reserved or elusive. He’s affable and open, easy to speak with and fluent in Spanish.
Julen Lopetegui has been an excellent influence on the player who won’t be 23 under November, coaching him and helping him develop. As well as maintaining his defensive game, he’s improved his on-the-ball contribution to become almost the complete footballer, working in tandem with Fernando to free himself for sojourns up the field.
It’s here where he becomes unique, as a source close to Sevilla elucidate. He’s never nervous, cold-blooded even, able to move up the pitch almost unconsciously. He’s been playing like that ever since he was back at Bordeaux, an ability that marks him out from other players and encouraged Monchi to spend big on him.
Sevilla rejected a bid of €55m in variables from Manchester City last summer, so confident were they that in time his value will increase. Now, the starting price is €80m, and this is before he’s even been called up the French national team.