Tottenham Hotspur appear to be leading the race to sign the coveted Jules Kounde this summer…
That’s according to Italian transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, who delivered a fresh update on the 22-year-old’s future to the 4-4-Two podcast this week.
“Man Utd will sign a new centre-back [this window]. Raphael Varane is a serious option, he’s one of the biggest names on the list. Kounde is no more a big option for United because Tottenham are going for him and keep an eye on Pau Torres,” he claimed.
Kounde, who is currently at Euro 2020 with France, has an €80m (£68m) release clause but is expected to be sold for less than that, with The Athletic’s David Ornstein recently mooting a fee in the region of £50m.
Spurs’ managerial search may still be rumbling on well into a third month but it’s hugely encouraging news to see that the club is already targeting reinforcements in a key area.
The Lilywhites were amongst the worst defences in the top eight last term, conceding 45 goals from their 38 league games and that largely boiled down to a combination of individual mistakes and a lack of cohesion, with departed boss Jose Mourinho using over 16 different combinations at the back.
This time last year, the club were desperate for a new central defender and the Portuguese only just managed to secure Swansea’s Joe Rodon before the domestic deadline, but that was more in mind for the future than the here and now.
It leaves the Premier League outfit still in dire need of defensive additions, though it seems as if they will be rectifying that for whoever is appointed ahead of next season.
At just 22, Kounde has quickly proven himself at the very top, leading to a place in Didier Deschamps’ France squad. The versatile 5 foot 10 dynamo can play in the middle and at right-back and was named in UEFA’s Europa League Squad of the Season for 2019/20 after Sevilla’s triumph.
The Frenchman continued his fine form into last season, where he graded as Julen Lopetegui’s highest-rated player (7.01) ahead of 18-goal marksman Youssef En-Nesyri and assist-king Jesus Navas, as per WhoScored.
It’s no wonder La Liga expert Euan McTear dubbed Kounde “really special” to The Transfer Tavern. “He’s still so young, he’s got energy, great positioning too. All the centre-backs, not just in Spain I think, but if you look around Europe, he’s got to be one of the highest prospects,” he added.
If that’s not enough to have fans absolutely buzzing, then his average of three aerial battles won, 1.2 interceptions and an impressive 90.1% passing accuracy per league outing should do the job.
That suggests he’s an intelligent ball-playing defender, something that is very much lacking in N17 right now. If Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez have been dubbed one of the worst partnerships in the Premier League, then Kounde will look like an instant hero in a Spurs shirt.
Now with United seemingly out of the running, it’s all in Daniel Levy and Fabio Paratici’s court. They can really appease the fanbase with this move. Get it done.
AND in other news, Alasdair Gold reveals fresh twist in Nuno Santo pursuit…