According to The Sun, Manchester United are reportedly ready to go toe-to-toe with Barcelona and Real Madrid in pursuit of Sevilla star Jules Kounde.
It’s probably one of the worst kept secrets in football that the Red Devils are looking for a new centre-back, with Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof both struggling to nail down a place alongside club captain Harry Maguire.
Reports in recent weeks have revealed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made Kounde his top summer target when the transfer window re-opens in a few months’ time, and now The Sun claim that United are set to fight both Barcelona and Madrid for his signature.
The £60m-rated Sevilla defender, 22, has emerged as one of La Liga’s surprise standouts in 2020-21 after his arrival from Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, so it’s no surprise a whole host of clubs across Europe have taken an interest in the player.
Barcelona, United and Madrid have been named as three contenders, with the European giants set to do battle to secure the signing of Julen Lopetegui’s star defender in the summer.
In 71 appearances for Sevilla, he has notched five goals and one assist, including a superb solo effort against Barca in the Copa del Rey semi-final as Lopetegui’s side won the first leg 2-0 last week.
But that’s not all, as the French centre-back has caught the eye with his mix of physicality, athleticism and tactical acumen, as he boasts a WhoScored strength of ‘concentration’ together with his strong ability in the air, suggesting that he could be the perfect foil for Solskjaer’s skipper Maguire.
It seems like attackers also struggle to get the better of the youngster as he averages 1.3 interceptions per game in La Liga, which suggests he reads the game well – for context, that’s more interceptions than Lindelof has managed in the Premier League this season, as per WhoScored.
In any case, it’s surely a no-brainer right now. Signing Kounde would not only strengthen an underlying weakness in the side, but the level of quality he evidently possesses would help to take them to the next level.
United are currently second in the Premier League, but having conceded 31 goals in 24 games this season, they should be doing better than that, and need to bring an elite central defender to Old Trafford at the earliest opportunity.
Ed Woodward would do well to bring in Kounde this summer and have him become Maguire’s long-term partner at the back.
AND in other Man Utd news, Victor Lindelof endures Man Utd nightmare in Premier League draw with West Brom…