Manchester United are keen on Sevilla defender Jules Kounde with the Spanish side willing to lower their asking price, according to Gol Digital.
The 22-year-old has been linked with numerous clubs ahead of the summer transfer window, including Arsenal, PSG and Real Madrid.
Price-tag and contract situation:
Kounde is coming to the end of his second season in Spain. He still has over three years left on his current deal, which expires in June 2024.
The French centre-back has featured in 23 La Liga matches this term, and has played a pivotal role in making Sevilla one of the toughest sides to break down in the division. The team have shipped just 20 league goals in 2020/21 - only league leaders Atletico Madrid have conceded fewer.
Kounde has been a dominant presence at the back, winning 2.9 aerial duels per game in the league, putting him at the top of this category amongst his teammates. By comparison, United defender Victor Lindelof has won 2.2 aerial duels per match in the Premier League.
The youngster has also blocked 11 shots in the top-flight this year, ranking him second-highest in the Sevilla squad, suggesting that he is happy to put his body on the line to protect his side's goal.
Speaking to 101 Great Goals last November, Get Spanish Football News editor-in-chief Kieran Quaile outlined how Kounde has developed into the complete modern-day central defender.
He said: “The Paris-born centre-back has been immense alongside Diego Carlos for Sevilla.
"Strong in the air, intelligent, technically gifted and capable of starting moves from defensive positions, he also possesses the ability to hit a cross-field pass."
Signing Kounde this summer should be a priority for United's new football director John Murtough.
The Red Devils may have been solid defensively of late, as they have managed to keep four consecutive clean sheets in the top-flight. However, their issues in central defence have often led to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taking a cautious approach and playing two holding midfielders in front of the back four.
This has become a problem in games against the 'big six', with the side struggling to offer enough of an attacking threat due to focusing on protecting the defence.
If Kounde arrives, this should provide Solskjaer the confidence to be bolder with his team selections next year and select more ambitious starting XIs against top sides, which would give his team a better chance of winning games against their direct rivals rather than settling for draws.
The Old Trafford club should be targeting the title next year, but if they are to have a chance of achieving this, they need to bring in a centre-back alongside Harry Maguire that eradicates the need for excessive midfield protection - especially in the six-pointers.
Kounde looks as good a candidate as any to fill that role.News Now - Sport News