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Report: Man Utd ‘very interested’ in signing Barcelona defender Jules Kounde

Manchester United have identified Barcelona defender Jules Kounde as a potential centre-back target in the upcoming summer transfer window, according to Spanish publication Sport via the Sun.

It is not just Kounde who is on the shortlist for the Red Devils. The report adds that along with the Frenchman, Man Utd also have Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Juventus’ Gleison Bremer on their radar. As things stand though, it seems like the Barcelona man is the priority as the report says they are ‘very interested’ in signing Kounde this summer.

Kounde to Barcelona in the summer of 2022 was one of the most interesting transfer sagas. In what seems to be an intense set of negotiations, the Spanish giants managed to pip Chelsea to signing the highly-rated French defender for a fee of around €50m.

During his time at the club, Kounde has been solid if not spectacular. The most interesting thing though is that the former Sevilla man has hardly got a chance to feature in his preferred centre-back position under Xavi Hernandez who has used him extensively as a right-back so far. The fact that Barcelona have an abundance of centre-backs at his disposal but hardly any right-backs has kind of forced Xavi’s hand into playing the 25-year-old there.

To be fair to Kounde though, even though he might be vocal about not wanting to play in that position, he is very solid as a right-back and offers a lot of both in attack and defence. That said, the Frenchman might consider leaving Barcelona in the summer to find a club who would give him a long rope in his preferred position.

The perfect Raphael Varane replacement?

Manchester United understandably need a centre-back signing in the summer. Lisandro Martinez has hardly featured this season through successive injuries. Raphael Varane also missed much of the first half of the campaign but he is featuring regularly nowadays.

Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof don’t inspire much confidence as central defenders. With Varane’s contract set to expire in the summer and the player yet to renew his deal, there is a chance he could leave the club. If that happens, and even otherwise, Man Utd need a top-draw central defender.

Enter Jules Kounde. The Barcelona man has everything it takes to be one of the best centre-backs in Europe. Additionally, the manager can also call upon his services at right back. He would be the perfect ‘Raphael Varane replacement’ at Man Utd. Transfermarkt values Kounde at around £51.2m and he’d be a terrific signing if United could snap him up at that price.

Ideally, Barcelona might not want to sell someone like Kounde. Considering their precarious financial position though, there is a good chance that the club is forced into making player sales. In such a scenario, the 25-year-old becomes one of the Catalan club’s most profitable assets.

There is no doubt that the Spanish giants will demand much more than Kounde’s market value to part ways with him, considering his age, talent and the fact that he has a contract until 2027. However, from a Man Utd perspective, it would be worth taking the bait as Kounde brings a lot to the table. Let’s wait and see what the club thinks of this situation in the summer.

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