Manchester United are reportedly in a battle with Arsenal over a deal to sign Barcelona defender Jules Kounde this summer, as per the Spanish outlet Fichajes.
After joining the Blaugrana at the beginning of this season from Sevilla, the 24-year-old has enjoyed a solid debut campaign at Camp Nou, playing a key role in his side’s league triumph this term.
However, Xavi Hernandez has been using Kounde, who is a centre-back by traits, at right-back due to the lack of options and according to the report by Fichajes, the Frenchman doesn’t want to play in the full-back position. So, he will hand in a transfer request if his situation doesn’t change next season.
The report further claims that Man Utd are waiting in the wings to take advantage of this situation and they will make a move if an opportunity arises as they are planning to strengthen their backline this summer.
However, Fichajes states that signing Kounde won’t be straightforward for Man Utd as Arsenal have also registered their interest in signing the 24-year-old as they are looking to sign a new centre-back this summer to support William Saliba.
Having just joined Barcelona last summer, Kounde – valued at around £52m by Transfermarkt – still has four years left in his current contract. So, Barcelona are in a strong position to demand a big fee to let their star man leave in the summer.
It has been suggested that Barcelona are planning to cash-in on some of their assets to balance the books amid their financial difficulties. So, Kounde could come under the chopping block if Arsenal or Man Utd opt to formalise their interest and offer a lucrative proposal.
Kounde is comfortable playing out from the back, is quick, good in the air, excellent in defensive contributions and also can chip in with some important goals.
The Frenchman would be an ideal signing to play in Arteta or Erik ten Hag’s possession-based style of football. So, he would be a great coup for Arsenal or Man Utd if either club manage to get a deal done this summer.
However, it is going to be interesting to see whether Arsenal or Man Utd decide to make a concrete approach to sign Kounde if they decide to reinforce their backline at the end of this season.