Manchester United are seemingly at the front of the queue to secure the signing of a talented France defender – with the player reportedly asking his agent to push for a move to Old Trafford ahead of all other suitors.
United’s solid start to the season threatens to be undone in recent weeks. Four wins and a draw from their first five games saw them well placed in the Premier League table. But the recent defeat to Aston Villa, followed by a 1-1 draw with Everton – both at Old Trafford – appear to have quashed the feel-good vibe.
Indeed, United had suffered three defeats in their last four games prior to Wednesday’s much-needed Champions League win over Villarreal.
The Red Devils though do boast arguably the strongest squad in the Premier League. Their summer signings of Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho offered United – on paper at least – some serious upgrades on their options.
However, one signing who they didn’t quite get over the line was the signing of a new right-back.
Indeed, United made a strong push to sign Kieran Trippier in the summer, with Atletico holding firm over their valuation.
And while reports claim United could make a fresh January move, talk of a near £40m deal to sign a back-up right-back don’t make a lot of sense.
Instead, Spanish outlet El Nacional claims United will instead pursue a deal to sign Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.
The France star has made his name in recent years playing as a centre-half. However, he often plays at right-back for the France national side and that is where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees him playing.
Indeed, the fact that he covers two positions, as well as his age – 22 – makes him a far more appealing option than Trippier.
And while Sevilla are seeking a fee of around £67m (€80m), Solskjaer has reportedly made his signing a priority for United.
In turn, El Nacional claims Kounde is ready to break off talks with fellow suitors Chelsea and Real Madrid to secure the move. They claim Kounde has requested his agent the move and that he wants to hold talks with the Red Devils.
Sevilla discuss potential Kounde sale
Furthermore, Kounde reportedly sees himself at Old Trafford and believes Solskjaer’s plan to play him at right-back could pay dividends. Indeed, he reportedly sees himself potentially usurping Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the United side.
However, United may find Sevilla a tough nut to crack over Kounde’s transfer fee.
That’s after Chelsea saw a £44m offer fall flat for the defender over the summer. And it seems the LaLiga club are in no mood to negotiate a transfer for less than the €80m exit clause in his deal.
“Even so, with Chelsea’s offer of €50million, the deficit was wiped out. That speaks of the strength of the club.
“I don’t know how many teams in Spain would say ‘no’ to Chelsea’s €50m and maintain this deficit, considering that the squad is worth €400m [£340m].”