Barcelona continues to blow up the transfer market
After the top reinforcements of Robert Lewandowski, Rafinha, Franck Kessier and Andreas Christensen, the Barcelona fans, and the soccer public in general, feel as if the Catalan team is regaining that magical aura and attraction that accompanied it 10 years ago. Of course, it will be very difficult to reach the level of play of that squad, although it will be forged by a direct participant in the former triumphs, but in comparison with the version of Barça of recent years there is only a pleasant feeling, especially after new significant victories.
President Laporta is in the taste – on the background of a billion-dollar debt he sells the TV rights and gives Spotify a place next to the name of the legendary stadium. All for the sake of transfers and the earliest results. Already 103 million euros have been spent and, apparently, about 50 more will be added.
Kunde chose Barça
Since the beginning of the summer, Sevilla central defender Julius Kunde has been sent time and again by insiders to Chelsea and Barcelona, each time adding new details after which the option with a rival club for the transfer kind of fell away. A couple of days ago Laporta allegedly said in a conversation with a fan that the Frenchman signed a contract with Chelsea, but after a tiny amount of time, the most influential and authoritative media reported that Barça still convinced Jules to choose their club.
The most recent so far is the insider from COPE journalist Elena Kodis. According to her, Kunde chose to move to Barcelona based on sporting criteria. After conversations with Xavi and the coach of the Londoners Thomas Tuchel, Jules decided that the project of the Catalan club looks more convincing and attractive. And a little earlier, famous insider Gerard Romero said right during his stream:
It’s happened. A few hours before Kunde was supposed to board the bus to Portugal, he got a call from Xavi. He told him, verbatim: “Jules, wait. If you leave with Sevilla, you will become a ‘coule’ [nickname for Barcelona fans].” This is important to save time.
Gerard also added that in one of the messengers, members of the Barça board are writing that the job is done. At the same time, according to other reports, the blaugrana has not yet sent Sevilla a formal offer, but is already preparing it. The Blue Granatayas will offer not less than €50m, although British sources reported about €65m, which Chelsea are ready to put up. Diario Sport also reported that the Catalan club reached a preliminary agreement with the player on the contract for a period of 4 years. Barça plan to complete the deal next week.
And yet the Blues gave Kunda a large salary. Perhaps in addition to the attractiveness of the project reviving Barça played and more mundane reasons – to move to the chilly British climate after many years in France and Spain, and even in such a heavy and high-tempo championship to the coach, whose ideas differ significantly from those of Julen Lopetegui and Xavi – a double-edged sword.
Jules is a ready player to start for a top team
The 23-year-old right-footed Frenchman, 178 cm tall, comes from Bordeaux’s academy. Kunde played for the Girondins’ first and second teams from 2016 to 2019 before being acquired by Sevilla for €25 million. In three seasons with the Spanish team, Jules played 133 matches, in which he scored 9 goals and made 3 assists.
Why has Kunde become such a coveted transfer target for many top clubs? The main trump card of the Frenchman is assists and versatility – from the main position of the center-back he easily shifts to the right-back, which is more often the case in the French national team.
He’s averaging 71 assists per game and 89% accuracy, which was slightly better than 90% last season. He has 3.67 assists per game which is better than 84% of centerbacks in the top 5 in Europe. Kunde also has 1.16 actions leading to a shot – more than 97% of centerbacks. For a centerback who isn’t the tallest, he’s very good on the second floor, averaging 2.4-3 won overhead duels per game.
Compared to last season, Juul slightly increased his stats on blocked shots, rebounds, better countering the opponent’s dribbling, taking the game out more often, fouling less, increased the number of key passes, crosses and long passes. At the same time, he had a slight decrease in total assists, shots per game and steals. But the difference in those numbers is minimal.
Kunde reads the game perfectly, directs Sevilla’s defense, perfectly senses when it’s better to stand up. Perfectly reacts to the opponents’ breakthrough, regularly intercepts passes from the back. At the same time he is aggressive and tenacious enough to know when the ideal moment to tear up the defense to put pressure on the opponent and when not to do so. Yes, sometimes opponents take advantage of that and still catch the Frenchman on the output, but more often these mistakes can be attributed to the entire Andalusian defense. Kunde’s personal mistake percentage is negligible. Despite his low rebounding percentage per game, Jules does it cleanly and almost never goes for a tackle. Even if he is behind his opponent in terms of speed or simply misses him, he tries to catch him on an inconvenient pass or kick.
Thus, for Barcelona, whose priority is total possession of the ball with a prohibitive number of passes, the presence of Julius Kunde in his lineup will give the option to perfectly set up the desired model of the game. The ability to accelerate attacks from the center with quality breakthroughs even to the final third, while having a good back-up in the form of the same Christensen, Araujo or Pique, will give Xavi the flexibility and creativity he wants, which will bind the entire team, rather than individual positions, as it was before.