If Ed Woodward wants to strengthen Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s defensive options at the back alongside Harry Maguire, he ought to take a look at a player he was so ready to dismiss and perform a shock transfer U-turn.
Jules Kounde has exploded on to the scene with Sevilla and has made quite the impression with the Spanish side, making his debut as a 20-year-old before establishing himself as a first-team regular starter under Julen Lopetegui.
Fast forward two years later and Kounde is widely regarded as one of Europe’s best centre-back prospects, with five goals and one assist in 73 appearances to his name, having also collected a Europa League trophy and four caps for France’s U21s.
Sevilla have gone under the radar for honing the skills of young players over the years – Ansu Fati and Sergio Ramos are two to have come through the academy ranks – and Kounde could follow in their footsteps by making the jump to a bigger club.
The 22-year-old has impressed for Sevilla and caught the eye of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including United and Manchester City.
However, according to a recent report from The Daily Mail, United have reportedly cooled their interest in the talented Frenchman.
As is often the case, it seems Ed Woodward is unwilling to meet Sevilla’s asking price, which is believed be in the region of £68m. In doing so, however, he would be in danger of repeating the same mistake he made with Erling Braut Haaland.
The Red Devils famously refused to meet Haaland’s release clause demands, and we all know how well that turned out, as he has gone on to score 43 goals in the same number of games for Borussia Dortmund.
Perhaps more to the point, United arguably need a player of his calibre right now. Kounde is solid defensively and comfortable in possession, as shown by his 89.4% pass accuracy, which is better than any other defender for United apart from Victor Lindelof (90.4%).
He also averages 1.2 interceptions per 90 across all competitions, which is also higher than Lindelof overall, suggesting that he reads the game well.
With Kounde in their ranks, it’s fair to say that United would be a formidable force to be reckoned with at the back, and for this reason alone, Woodward should swallow his pride and dip into his back pocket.
AND in other news, Man Utd striker Anthony Martial badly let Ole Gunnar Solskjaer down again…