Media Watch: Chelsea linked to France international, Cole recalls Mourinho outburst, Robben retires – again

In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, defender Jules Kounde is discussed, a popular past player lifts the lid on working under Jose Mourinho and Arjen Robben expresses his regret about calling it a day…

These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.

Kounde’s capital choice

Should Sevilla’s French international defender Jules Kounde secure a move to the Premier League, he would favour a transfer to Chelsea over Tottenham according to an article in the Daily Express.

The newspaper, which cities a report from Spanish outlet AS, claims Kounde ‘will only depart Sevilla for sporting reasons and that Tottenham, who will play in the inaugural European Conference League next term, would not be a natural progression’.

‘The 22-year-old would instead prefer to feature in one of the two elite European competitions,’ it adds, ‘and not the new third-tier tournament that begins this season.

‘That would put Chelsea and Man Utd ahead of Spurs in the race for Kounde’s signature.’

Kounde came on during the second half of our away game against Sevilla in the Champions League last season. He was part of Didier Deschamps France squad at the Euros, making one appearance when he started the 2-2 draw against Portugal.

The Express states the player is a target of several European clubs this summer and he has been strongly linked to the Premier League.

Cole – Jose made us horrible

Our former midfielder Joe Cole, who worked under Jose Mourinho during the Portuguese manager’s first spell in charge of Blues, has been recalling one particular dressing-down the team received from the then boss.

It came after Chelsea lost 2-1 in the first leg of a Champions League tie away to Barcelona in 2005. Speaking on Jamie Carragher's The Greatest Game podcast and as reported in the Sun, Cole recalls how Mourinho would deal with his players if not happy.

‘He always used to dig me out and he used to dig a few of the others out,’ he says.

‘He had us in after we got beaten at the Nou Camp and he sat down and went through us one by one.

‘He said: “You think you're a top player? You froze at the Nou Camp you. You're a French international, you're supposed to be good.”

‘He went through and he absolutely crucified everyone.

‘He came to me and I thought he'd do me a left hook, he came to me and Duffer (Damien Duff) and said: “You two, OK.”

Chelsea went on to win the tie against Barcelona with a famous home victory and in the podcast, Cole credits Mourinho with changing the attitude at the club and turning us into serial trophy winners.

‘It was a nice football team, and he recognised that, Jose, and said “I want to make these the (most horrible) bunch to play against and everyone's going to hate me.”

‘The manager spiced it up and we obliged.’

Robben sorry to quit

One of Joe Cole’s team-mates in the back-to-back Premier League title wins of 2005 and 2006, Arjen Robben, has announced the end of his playing career and his club Groningen revealed they had hoped the 37-year-old would continue on for one more season.

Speaking on his club’s official website, Groningen technical director Mark-Jan Fledderus said: ‘It was common knowledge that we really wanted Arjen to stick with it for another year, but we also said that we appreciate and respect every decision made by him.

‘We have offered him to remain active in a role within the club, in whatever position. Arjen has indicated that he first wants to spend a holiday with his family and to take a break from football.’

Robben returned to what had been his first club before playing at PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. In July 2019 he brought to an end his time in the Bundesliga when he originally announced his retirement, only to return to playing with Groningen a year later.

This week the former Dutch international used Twitter for the news he is returning to retirement, saying it was a very difficult choice. 

On Groningen’s YouTube channel he added: ‘My football heart still wants to continue. That is also the reason why I am sorry. But at some point you have to be realistic.

‘It is a battle between the emotional and the rational. And then you have to make a smart decision, which I hope I did. But I cannot say I am very happy to make this decision.’