A ball-playing centre back in the current transfer market comes at a premium. A young ball-playing centre back who has great recovery pace and is used to playing in an attacking setup and is available at a cut price deal? Once in a blue moon. Yet, Jules Kounde’s situation remains stagnant at Sevilla.
⚪️🔴 Jules Koundé continues to impress for Sevilla 🔝#UCL | @SevillaFC_ENG | @jkeey4 pic.twitter.com/cRngiMbRls
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 11, 2021
Kounde has long been on the radar of Europe’s biggest clubs. The Frenchman has been heavily linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid while Tottenham Hotspur have also entered the race now. Sevilla are ready to sell him for well-below the 80 million Euro release clause but a deal with all parties agreeing is far from being sealed.
WHERE SHOULD KOUNDE GO?
Jules Kounde is one of the hottest young centre backs and it is understandable that he is desperate for silverware. Having already won a Europa League trophy with Sevilla, he would ideally be looking to move to a side that is competing for the league title. Tottenham are nowhere near that level right now.
Moreover, new manager Nuno Espirto Santo’s playing style does not suit Kounde. The Portuguese boss plays a more defensive brand of football and while he wants Kounde to join Spurs, it is not exactly the best fit. The French defender’s overlapping runs to contribute in attack and carry the ball out of defence are arguably his best qualities and Nuno’s Spurs will almost certainly stifle that aspect.
Overlaps, driving dribbles, the Koundé way. pic.twitter.com/h2TAaX01Xw
— Scouted Football (@scoutedftbl) February 12, 2021
Real Madrid pushed Atletico Madrid to the final day of the season in the La Liga title race but that was more down to Atletico’s failings than Real’s success. They have an ageing squad which is injury-prone and looks unlikely to be amongst Europe’s best for the next couple of years at least.
Kounde could be the foundation of the rebuild but Santiago Bernabeu is a bad place for a player when Real are not winning. Carlo Ancelotti is a more flexible and progressive manager than Nuno but his star has been on the wane for a while. Whether he can get the most out of Kounde, or more importantly, whether Kounde thinks his best can be extracted by Ancelotti is a pressing question that does not have any clear answer.
Is Varane using Man United to get a new deal at Madrid? Is it another Ramos saga….
Stay tuned to #VibeWithFive
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 28, 2021
Manchester United though are begging for a centre back like Kounde to partner Harry Maguire at the back. The Frenchman’s strengths dovetail with Maguire’s weaknesses and United’s stature necessitates that they play on the front foot. Solskjaer’s side lacks progression from defence to attack on the right hand side and Kounde could easily be the solution to that problem.
Moreover, Solskjaer has proven that he can help develop young talent well as shown in the rise of Mason Greenwood and co. at Old Trafford. His side were some way off Manchester City but they were still the second best in the league. Sancho’s arrival combined with a prospective transfer for Eduardo Camavinga improves the squad drastically and Kounde could be the final piece of the jigsaw.
WHERE DOES KOUNDE WANT TO GO?
According to multiple reports, the 22-year-old wants a move to Old Trafford to join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s troops. Manchester United for their part are interested in Kounde but he is not their first choice defensive recruit this summer. Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane remains top of the list for Solskjaer as he looks to build a side to challenge Manchester City following the signing of Jadon Sancho.
For Real Madrid, a similar situation persists. They are hoping they can keep Varane at the Bernabeu and would look for options should he leave. Further, Madrid are struggling financially but president Florentino Perez harbours hopes of signing players like Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland at the same time. To find a budget for Kounde seems difficult.
There’s still the same feeling around Jules Koundé and Tottenham since one week. No optimism – Sevilla are open to sell Koundé for an important bid and relationship with Spurs is great, but deal not progressing. ⚪️ #THFC
Jules Koundé prefers to wait, as of today. https://t.co/setuyAp7fD
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 14, 2021
Tottenham have good relations with Sevilla and have reportedly agreed on a fee but with not even Europa League football on offer, Kounde, understandably, does not want to go to North London.
SHOULD MAN UNITED SIGN VARANE OR KOUNDE
Raphael Varane has won just about everything there is to win at club and international level and he is in the textbook prime of his career. He did look a bit shaky at the Euros but that can be put down to the general downturn of performance of the side rather than to any individual problem.
Varane also is used to continuous pressure and media scrutiny which a lot of exceptional players struggle to adapt to at Manchester United (*cough* Di Maria *cough*). Few players could have been a better fit than Kounde for the Red Devils but Varane just about takes the cake.
Manchester United are now back in direct contact with Real Madrid for Raphaël Varane, after opening talks weeks ago. Negotiations on personal terms not an issue. 🔴 #MUFC
Man United confirmed their intention to sign Varane – official bid in once they’ll know Real final position.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 13, 2021
Real Madrid’s sale of Varane, combined with the already confirmed departure of Sergio Ramos, will just leave Eder Militao and Nacho as specialist senior centre-backs at the club. This will certainly force the club to sign reinforcements and one imagines Kounde would be top of that list.
Come deadline day, this situation may change. Varane may choose to stay but for now it seems like Kounde will have to wait for his dream move to Manchester. Real are almost certain to come knocking and Bernabeu looks to be the most likely destination for the young French defender.