Rakitic tells Kounde not to be 'down, sad or angry' over failed Chelsea move

AFP

Ivan Rakitic is planning talks with Sevilla team-mate Jules Kounde in a bid to lift his spirits after a move to Chelsea did not materialise.

Kounde has established himself as one of the best defenders in LaLiga over the past two seasons, prompting interest from a number of elite clubs.

Reports of interest from Chelsea were persistent throughout the recent transfer window, and Sevilla sporting director Monchi confirmed the European champions had made an approach.

It was a move that would have appealed to Kounde, Monchi confirmed, but the two clubs were unable to agree a fee, as Sevilla held out for the player's €80million release clause.

Kounde appeared well suited to a top Premier League side, ranking third among LaLiga defenders for aerial duels won (205) and sixth for successful passes (3,536) since the start of the 2019-20 season – an effective blend of physicality and finesse.

Yet veteran Rakitic hopes the 22-year-old can move on quickly.

"Hopefully, on his return from his national team, we can have a moment to be able to talk, sincerely, so that he knows that he has the confidence of us, that we are his second family," Rakitic said in a wide-ranging interview with ELDesmarque.

"It is very important to us. The first thing we need is for him to feel at ease, to be at his best and to know that everything we do, we do together."

Already a complete defender – also counted in LaLiga's top 25 for duels won (339, 11th), recoveries (303, 22nd) and clearances (191, 23rd) since his arrival – Rakitic wants Kounde to kick on again and show his quality.

"He is a boy, 22 years old, very young," Rakitic added. "He has been here for some spectacular years, that's why he attracts the interest of big clubs with those amounts.

"He has earned that with his game. The most important thing is that he understands that this has already happened.

"Besides being young, he has a lot of experience. He no longer has to teach anything to anyone. He is already a well-rounded player.

"He still has to improve, of course, but he has to continue to enjoy football. It doesn't help him now to be down, sad, or angry. He has to lift his spirits." 


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