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Manchester United can find their next Rio Ferdinand in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde

According to The Mirror, Manchester United remain interested in Sevilla hotshot Jules Kounde as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeks to bolster his defensive options in the summer.

What’s the word?

Despite finding themselves second in the table, the Red Devils have conceded 27 goals in 21 Premier League games this season.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinking

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And now, The Mirror claim that Solskjaer is prepared to wait until the summer before bolstering his defence, with Kounde now his prime target.

It is understood that Solskjaer views the £60m-rated 22-year-old Frenchman as his ideal centre-back partner for Harry Maguire, who arrived at Old Trafford in an £80m move from Leicester City in 2019.

Rio Ferdinand 2.0?

The Norwegian has Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and youngster Axel Tuanzebe available at his disposal, with the latter three jostling for position to bag the spot beside the club captain at the back, each with varying degrees of success.

Bailly has battled various injuries over the years, whilst it’s fair to say that Lindelof has looked defensively shaky this season, and Tuanzebe is still relatively inexperienced, despite impressing in the Champions League.

Despite being shorter than Rio Ferdinand, Kounde shares a lot of similarities with the club legend and former England international.

Just like Ferdinand, while some centre-backs will soley focus on the defensive aspect of the game, the French national has shown no hesitation in attempting to carry the ball forward or play out from the back, having scored one goal in 17 top-flight appearances in La Liga this season, as evidenced by his 0.9 dribbles per 90 minutes during his time with Sevilla.

But that doesn’t mean that his defensive contributions should go unnoticed, either, as he is prepared to get stuck in to deny clear-cut chances for the opposition.

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Per WhoScored, Kounde is currently averaging more interceptions (1.3) and clearances per match than Tuanzebe and he commits fewer fouls than Lindelof’s 1.1.

In his last season with Bordeaux, he averaged 1.3 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 5.4 clearances per game, via WhoScored.

It’s these kind of performances that led Sevilla sporting director Monchi describing the defender as “one of the sensations of French football.”

Kounde could add a touch of class in the heart of the United defence, considering his experience in the Champions League, and he still has room to improve at the age of 22, which is precisely why Ed Woodward should sanction such a move.

AND in other news, Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka was Solskjaer’s only silver lining in Arsenal draw

Article title: Manchester United can find their next Rio Ferdinand in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde

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