Sevilla defender Jules Kounde was linked with a move to Chelsea for the entirety of the last transfer window – but has reportedly asked his agent to open talks with Manchester United over a potential switch.
Chelsea’s loss could be the gain of another of European football’s biggest sides, as both Man United and Real Madrid have reportedly entered the race for the defender’s signature.
According to El Nacional , Kounde is sceptical over how much game time he would receive under Carlo Ancelotti at the Santiago Bernabeu and has asked his agent to prioritise United’s interest instead.
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The same report explains how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are rumoured to be “crazy” about signing Kounde this summer – despite recruiting fellow French centre-back Raphael Varane earlier this year.
United’s pursuit could end abruptly given Sevilla’s rumoured asking price – no less than £75 .9m, just £5m short of the figure forked out for club captain Harry Maguire , the most expensive for a defender in history.
Kounde has enjoyed an impressive start to the league season with Sevilla, featuring in all eight of their league fixtures as they sit third in the La Liga table.
The 22-year-old has also been rewarded for his fine form with another call up to the French national side as they won the UEFA Nations League.
The France international made no secret of his desire to make the move to Stamford Bridge in the summer, before the deal fell through in the latter stages of the window – much to Kounde’s disappointment.
The Frenchman reportedly ignored calls from Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui and director of football Monchi.
Once dubbed “The best defender in the world right now” by Spanish journalist Guillem Balague – a bid from the Blues worth £43m was rejected by the La Liga outfit, who value Kounde at around double that figure.
For much of the window it seemed a nailed-on certainty that Kounde would end up under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel in West London, but both clubs have since blamed the other for the deal’s breakdown.
Monchi publicly explained how Chelsea refused to meet their valuation of the defender – speaking on the eve of the window’s deadline, he said: “The only written, formal offer from Chelsea came last Wednesday, around 5pm.
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“We weren’t satisfied with the offer, and it was linked to Chelsea selling a player. It was a decent fee but it didn’t meet our criteria.”
United’s pursuit of Kounde may stem from the lack of quality within their central defensive ranks behind first-choice duo Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane.
Both have endured a spell out of action with injury in recent weeks and United’s form has suffered as a result – winning just one of their last five fixtures.
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