Manchester United prepared to pay €90 million for Real Madrid target
According to Catalan outlet El Nacional, Jules Kounde has emerged as a priority target for Manchester United, who are willing to trigger the centre-back’s €90 million release clause, hoping that his arrival would resolve their defensive problems
The Frenchman is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe, with a number of top clubs competing for his signature. The 23-year-old’s rise had been nothing short of a revelation ever since he joined Sevilla from Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux in 2019. In total, the Frenchman has tallied 102 appearances for Los Nervionenses, notching up 6 goals and 2 assists along the way.
A regular at the heart of Sevilla backline, Kounde has cultivated an impressive defensive pairing alongside Diego Carlos. The Sevillistas boasts the best defensive record in La Liga this term, conceding only 7 goals from 12 games as they hope to mount an unlikely title charge.
Kounde’s rapid progression has not gone unnoticed. The French international has been garnering interests from Europe’s elite clubs. Chelsea came close to signing him last summer, but the deal eventually collapsed. The defender has lately admitted that the failure to secure a switch to Stamford Bridge affected him. Aside from the Blues, other clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid have also been touted with a move for the young defender.
The Red Devils have had a shaky start to the campaign. Even though they are still within reach of top-four spots in the Premier League, something needs to be changed before things go beyond repair with their defence constantly leaking goals. To put things into context, they have only managed two clean sheets across all competitions since the start of the 2021/22 season.
The summer signing of Raphael Varane was meant to be the final piece in the jigsaw for Manchester United’s defensive issues. And although their defence looks better in Frenchman’s presence, it is far from compact or solid. The significant drop-off in Harry Maguire’s form post-Euro 2020 has prompted United to consider bringing in another defender, and Jules Kounde appears to be the name on their radar.
Kounde would undoubtedly be a quality addition to United’s defensive ranks. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can utilise him in various roles in different systems owing to his capability to operate anywhere across the backline. He could also be a major upgrade over Eric Bailly or Victor Lindelof, and his chemistry with compatriot Varane could be crucial to United’s success for the rest of the season.
However, with so many good defenders already at Solskjaer’s disposal, Kounde’s arrival would add even more dilemma for the Norwegian manager.
As for Real Madrid, their decision to not sign a proven central defender over the summer could jeopardise their title aspirations. Los Blancos defensive roster is in desperate need of reinforcements. While summer signing David Alaba has done well in his debut season, Eder Militao and Nacho are the only other senior centre-back options available at the club.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side could perhaps make do with someone of Kounde’s calibre and potential. What now remains to be seen is whether either of the sides mentioned above can prise away the promising French defender from Sevilla.