Three of the five signings that Barcelona have made, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde, could all be described as headline acquisitions. No doubt Lewandowski is the most high-profile and in terms of quality, the best of the bunch. Yet some Barcelona fans have been more excited by what is to come from Kounde.
His talent was obvious and at Sevilla, it became clear he could make it to the top level after consistently performing over his three seasons there.
Yet even before that, he stood out. Mundo Deportivo spoke to one of his former coaches, Victor Sanchez Llado, about Kounde. Sanchez was part of Paulo Sousa’s technical staff while at Bordeaux, where he crossed paths with a 19-year-old Kounde. He was blown away by his character.
“I have never met anyone with such leadership qualities at his age and the mentality of complete footballer. Kounde seemed like a veteran. There are players who have quality and are very complete but they don’t have the personality to go with it. With him, yes [he had both].”
“He was always predisposed to listening and learning. He wasn’t at all arrogant. We would have liked to be with him for longer because you could see that in a short time he was going to make it to the level he’s at now.”
Those leadership qualities will be welcomed with open arms by Xavi Hernandez, whom Kounde took time to mention as part of the reason he joined Barcelona. In recent seasons the Blaugrana have come up short in the crunch moments and Kounde’s personality should aid that.