Newcastle begin blockbuster hijack of no 1 Manchester United target to ruin Ten Hag master plan

Jules Kounde, Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona, August 2022

Newcastle United have reportedly enquired to Barcelona about centre-back Jules Kounde, who recently emerged as a top target for Manchester United.

Kounde could have become a Premier League player last summer. Indeed, Chelsea came close to the snare – it was even suggested at one point that the defender had been “sold” to the club.

However, the Blues reportedly registered doubts over whether they needed him and pulled out.

They were not the only English top-flight side with an interest. Newcastle were in the mix, as they were looking to build upon their solid 11th-placed finish last season.

However, Kounde eventually made the move to Barcelona for a fee just north of £40million. The start of his spell at Camp Nou was far from plain sailing.

He was unable to be registered by the Catalan side due to salary problems, which could have seen him leave for nothing, before it the situation was sorted.

The Frenchman has missed a few games through injury, but has played 38 games in all competitions.

That’s included 27 La Liga appearances, in which he’s scored once and assisted three times, but the most impressive feat is that Barca have kept 20 clean sheets and conceded just nine goals in those games.

Newcastle begin Man Utd Kounde hijack

Indeed, Kounde has been a valuable member of the Barcelona squad this season. Despite that, reports have suggested there’s a belief he’s not happy with the club.

That’s one of the reasons Manchester United have registered an interest. Indeed, it’s been reported Erik ten Hag has made Kounde his no 1 defensive target, over Napoli’s Kim Min-jae, who United have been heavily linked with.

That suggests they are enamoured with Kounde, given the latest on Min-jae was that the deal was very advanced.

However, Newcastle are back in the mix for the former and are looking to spoil the Red Devils’ party.

Spanish outlet AS reports the Magpies have ‘asked about’ signing Kounde. They’ve followed suit from United, who had apparently already done the same.

A previous report stated with the financial strife Barcelona are in, selling Kounde might be on the cards.

Kounde signing would be massive Magpies statement

It would be huge for Newcastle if they were able to sign the centre-back ahead of United. The Magpies have shown they’re capable of remaining one of the Premier League’s most impressive sides, after securing Champions League football this season.

As such, attracting big players should not be a problem for them. However, the presence of another big Champions League side could still be problematic.

With that being said, if they were able to sign Kounde, it would be a statement that their pull is as big as a side the size of United.

That will only help the Magpies to attract better assets in future, and should obviously be useful on the pitch.

READ MORE: Newcastle rocked as Barcelona ready £87m move for Eddie Howe’s best player; talks already underway