Kounde says joining Barcelona was “not a big decision”, having also been wanted by Chelsea.

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Kounde, 23, became the La Liga club’s fifth summer arrival after moving from Sevilla for a reported £42m fee.

“It’s true that I had another offer, but I made the effort to wait for Barca to reach an agreement with Sevilla,” said the French centre-back.

“When I saw that it was possible, I chose Barca because I knew very clearly where I wanted to go.”

Kounde, who has signed a five-year contract with a buyout clause of £837m. added in his first news conference: “It wasn’t a big decision, because I wanted to come here.

“I’m very happy, very proud. I’m coming to a big club, an ambitious club and I’m also coming with ambition.”

Barca’s director of football Mateu Alemany revealed Kounde’s representatives had been calling him “almost every day” for an update as the player – capped 11 times by France – was “waiting for us”.

Alemany added: “In the end I had to tell Jonathan [Kebe, the player’s agent] not to call anymore because I didn’t know what to tell him.

“We have a very good relationship with Chelsea. We had dinner with the club’s owner [Todd Boehly].”

Kounde’s move follows Barcelona’s signing of Poland striker Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich for £42.6m and Brazil winger Raphinha from Leeds in a £55m deal.

Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie and Denmark defender Andreas Christensen also joined manager Xavi’s side on free transfers from AC Milan and Chelsea respectively, while France winger Ousmane Dembele signed a contract extension.

www.bbc.com.sports

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