What’s the story?
The price tag has been revealed by The Athletic’s David Ornstein, who has also claimed Arsenal are interested in signing the Sevilla centre-back ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
However, the report disclosed how Kounde is targeting Champions League football next term, leaving the Gunners facing an uphill struggle to secure the Frenchman’s signature, meaning United could be in pole position.
Solskjaer must swoop
Several star names such as Erling Haaland, Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho have been linked with moves to Old Trafford in recent weeks as United aim to strengthen their squad ahead of 2021/22, although a slightly less familiar face could be crucial to a future title charge.
Kounde has put in a string of impressive performances at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium over the last couple of campaigns, helping Sevilla claim the Europa League crown and a third-placed finish last term, before they reached the Champions League last-16 as well as finishing fourth in La Liga this time around.
His outstanding displays at the heart of defence have attracted the attention of some of the continent’s biggest clubs, with many surprised at the array of assets the 22-year-old possesses.
Despite being just 5 ft 10, Kounde is incredibly dominant in the air. Only nine players bettered his 118 aerial duels won in the Spanish top-flight this season, showcasing how the youngster would have the physical attributes to cope in the Premier League despite his unimpressive stature.
It’s not just in the air where the former Bordeaux man excels, though. He’s also extremely confident and composed with the ball at his feet.
As per WhoScored, Kounde averaged 69.3 passes per game in 2020/21, by far the most when in comparison with his teammates, and completed 90.1% of them, the fifth-highest percentage in the first-team squad.
These two key attributes, coupled with his electric pace, make Kounde the perfect partner for United captain Harry Maguire. While Victor Lindelof may also be competent at playing out from the back, Kounde still records better statistics than the Sweden international in that respect and considerably outperforms him in the air.
In a recent interview, his centre-back partner at Sevilla Diego Carlos gave a glowing reference of his teammate, claiming he’s ready to take the next step in his career.
“Yes, he has quality and he can play for great European clubs. He is a young player who can still improve over time, he has got great qualities, he is very strong, and I am sure he can play for a big club as a great defender,” revealed Carlos.
With plenty of pace to cover the sometimes sluggish Maguire, Kounde could form a formidable partnership with the 28-year-old and consign Lidelof to a place on the bench as United search for a first league title in eight years.