Football transfer news: Jules Kounde - Chelsea, Real Madrid, Spurs - who will sign Sevilla's centre-back?
Jules Kounde is reportedly being chased by a number of Europe's biggest clubs, with Chelsea, Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United all said to be interested in signing the Sevilla star. But why is the France international centre-back so highly rated, and where will he end up this summer?
He didn’t come cheap when Sevilla signed him from Bordeaux back in 2019, with the sum reported to be in the region of €25 million.
But Kounde will cost a lot more this time around.
It appears that the Parisian, who has been capped twice by France this year, has his pick of clubs.
But what are his options?
Thomas Tuchel’s European Champions are not on first-glance a great fit for Kounde, given their strength in depth across the park.
But if there is one position that Tuchel will be particularly keen to bring in a long-term option then it is the right side of his back-three.
And Kounde is a perfect fit for such a role, with his ability on the ball and experience at right-back giving him the range of skills needed to play in Tuchel’s preferred system.
Jules Kounde of Sevilla FC reacts during the La Liga Santander match between C.A. Osasuna and Sevilla FC at Estadio El Sadar on February 22, 2021 in Pamplona, Spain.
Image credit: Getty Images
Chelsea are willing to pay big if necessary this summer too, as the manager himself admitted earlier this summer:
“Two or three [signings] could be very, very good. It’s a constant thing to never deny change,” Tuchel said.
We don’t need another seven and another complete turnover, but we have some ideas, of course, to make the group stronger.
“That always brings new energy, new guys who question the old beliefs, who challenge everybody in the training and in matches."
Real need a centre-back after the departure of Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos this summer, and know exactly what Kounde is all about having lined up against him in La Liga for the past two seasons.
If the Frenchman wants regular starting time at the very top level then Real is his best bet, but it’s unclear if Madrid can actually sign anybody significant this summer.
Los Blancos are in some serious financial difficulty, hence their president’s particular enthusiasm for the European Super League, and will be wanting to avoid overspending.
But given that a bidding war could well develop for Kounde, Real are in danger of being priced out of a move for one of their preferred targets.
It makes perfect sense that Spurs want Kounde.
They are crying out for some fresh quality in defence, particularly given the departures of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen over the last two summers and the ongoing struggles of Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier.
The problem is, does Kounde want Spurs?
Reports suggest probably not. And that’s probably fair enough – he’ll likely get regular game time at any of the clubs linked with him, so why would he settle for lower wages and a lesser standard?
Jules Kounde of Sevilla FC celebrates goal 1-0 during the Spanish Copa del Rey match between Sevilla v FC Barcelona
Image credit: Getty Images
The links between Kounde and Manchester United were flying around earlier this week.
But it felt at the time like it was simply a ploy to push through the Raphael Varane transfer, and it looks even more like that was the case following the confirmed deal between Real Madrid and United for Varane.
It’s possible but unlikely that United will also shell out for Kounde when they’ve just signed Varane, particularly given there’s no obvious place for him in the starting line-up unless Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is planning a significant formation change.
Man Utd’s priority now will surely be to solve the issue of Paul Pogba’s future, either by tying him to a new contract or bringing in a midfielder of sufficient quality to replace him.