Manchester City could be in the market for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde as they continue to meet frustration in their bid to sign Kalidou Koulibably from Napoli.
Central defence remains a problem area for Pep Guardiola and City were exposed too many times last season. They lost nine Premier League games and finished a whopping 18 points behind Liverpool.
Guardiola has Aymeric Laporte pencilled in for one of the central defensive positions. But he wants a long-term partner for the Frenchman.
Koulibaly is believed to be the number one target. But his Serie A side Napoli want City to fork out more than £70m for the Senegalese stopper.
Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez has also been watched closely. But, again, price is a stumbling block. Gimenez will only be sold for his buy out clause of £90m.
City have brought in Nathan Ake from Bournemouth but Guardiola wants options for his problem position.
And a new name in their discussions is Kounde, according to the Daily Mail.
The 21-year-old played 29 times for Sevilla last season. The Frenchman had signed from Bordeaux in July 2019 for a fee reported to be €25 million.
He’s a major talent but there’s one obvious stumbling block. The player insisted on Thursday that he was staying with Sevilla.
City have also been linked with his defensive partner Diego Carlos but Kounde is the main target.
Otamedi could be used to lure Kounde
One way of trying to force Sevilla’s hand is a swap deal.
The Argentine has experience of Spain having signed from Valencia for £32m in the summer of 2015.
In the previous season, he’d been the only player from Valencia to be named in La Liga Team of the Year.
But despite playing 136 Premier League games for City and scoring eight goals, the jury has often remained out.
And the Manchester club may feel the move would suit both parties.
Meanwhile, Turkish side Galatasaray are showing interest in Brazilian veteran Fernandinho.
The midfielder’s contract is set to expire at the end of June next year but Guardiola appears reluctant to let him go.
Fernandinho has also filled in for City at centre-back and his versatility is still valued.