Man Utd become ‘serious’ option for superstar defender who’s greenlighted his own Barcelona exit
After reports emerged claiming Jules Kounde has asked to leave Barcelona, there have been some suggestions of interest from Man Utd.
As summarised by Diario Sport, Kounde ‘is not comfortable’ with how Xavi has been using him for Barcelona. After making it clear to the head coach, the defender has gone on to inform the club that they can ‘listen to offers’ for him this summer.
It was only last summer that Barcelona signed Kounde from Sevilla, beating long-term admirers Chelsea to the deal.
However, 21 of his 38 appearances for the club so far have come as a right-back. Ideally, Kounde would prefer to play as a central defender instead.
It could lead to the drastic solution of Barcelona selling the France international. And Sport has now obtained some information regarding where he could end up.
According to the Catalan source, Man Utd have emerged as a ‘serious’ option to offer Kounde the next step of his career.
Erik ten Hag’s side are in the market for another centre-back in the upcoming transfer window. It might be time for club captain Harry Maguire to leave.
Judging by the calibre of some targets – such as Napoli’s Kim Min-jae – it seems Man Utd might even be ready to replace Raphael Varane as the starting partner alongside Lisandro Martinez.
Now, Kounde could be in contention to succeed his compatriot at Old Trafford instead. He has been identified as someone who would smoothly suit Ten Hag’s style of building from the back.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City also linked with Kounde
However, there will be other Premier League contenders for Kounde’s signature. Another suitor who would be a good match for his attributes, per the report, would be Arsenal.
An injury to fellow Frenchman, William Saliba, was one of the factors that derailed their pursuit of the Premier League trophy. Therefore, they might want more depth at the back.
Alternatively, Manchester City could make a move for Kounde, having shown an interest before, while Chelsea are also being tipped to revive their interest in the 24-year-old. Of course, they do not have any European football on offer for next season, though.
In contrast, City and Arsenal will be in next season’s Champions League, and Man Utd are almost over the line to get there too.
The fifth and final potential bidder for Kounde as things stand, the report says, would be Paris Saint-Germain – his hometown club. Kounde last played in Ligue 1 in 2019 before leaving Bordeaux for Sevilla.
For anyone to sign Kounde now, they will have to make a significant bid to Barcelona. It will be important for La Liga’s champions not to make a loss on their investment.
According to a separate update by 90min, which says Kounde’s decision to leave has shocked Barcelona but does not mention Man Utd yet, the asking price would be in the region of €80m (£69.6m).
Amid their need to balance the books, the idea of selling Kounde could now be carefully considered, despite it not being on Barcelona’s minds.
Xavi’s side could look to replace him with his international colleague, Benjamin Pavard from Bayern Munich.
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