Jules Kounde to United? The story so far…
Manchester United’s abysmal start to the season has resulted in great interest in 21-year-old Jules Kounde. The Frenchman is on United’s shortlist of defensive options for the upcoming January window. The Seville centre-half deemed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be the ideal candidate to solve United’s defensive crisis. A crisis which has left United with a negative goal difference after just three games of the new season. United conceded 11 goals in their first three games, in which club captain Harry Maguire partnered both Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelöf. However neither combination has brought United any success. Although Kounde would most likely be partner for Harry Maguire, his poor start to the season may see Solskjaer re-evaluate the situation. Regardless of the combination, the need to bring in a central defender grows every match.
Date Of Birth: 12 November 1998
Age: 21 Years Old
Current Team(s): Seville, France U21s
Senior Career Appearances: 106
Senior Goals: 4
What would Jules Kounde offer United?
Evidently, it is clear to see that the Red Devils require a central defender with greater pace than what the current defenders possess. During, the first three games of the season United remained susceptible to counter attacks. Noteably, Wilfried Zaha and Son Heung-min, both exploiting the lack of pace at the back. Kounde would provide United a completely new dimension in defence with his raw pace and calmness on the ball.
Another issue United’s centre backs have faced is playing out from the back. Especially when a team presses the Red Devil’s shaky backline. This happened countless times. For example, during United’s draw with Southampton at Old Trafford last season and more recently this season against Crystal Palace. Ole has clearly taken a likening to Kounde’s calmness on the ball. Something he views as fundamental to the system that he wants his young side to play. Moreover, Solskjaer’s interest in Kounde will be intensified by the fact only West Brom have conceded more goals than United.
How and when could it happen?
In the January window, United are hoping to offload centre-backs Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. Both remain absent from the Champions League squad, which shows that they are no longer needed by the club. Coinciding with this, Solskjaer will be worried about the form of Harry Maguire. The United captain has come under intense criticism due to his glaring mistakes just before the international break. Victor Lindelöf has never convinced Solskjaer that he is consistent enough to start for the Red Devils and it remains to be seen if Eric Bailly can remain fit for the duration of the season. Kounde, who is valued around £63m, is not United’s only centre back option that they are evaluating. In the summer window, United registered an interest in Spanish defender Pau Torres and Dayot Upamecano. However neither deal materialised.
If United were to pursue a deal for the athletic, Jules Kounde, they could face competition from their noisy-neighbours. The Cityzens had previously registered an interest in the centre back along with Kalidou Kouliably during the summer. However, with City’s recent investment in Ruben Dias it seems that United almost have a free hit at Kounde. However, we have seen United miss out despite these circumstances!
The price-tag slapped on the Frenchman should be viewed as reasonable in the modern market. Although, Kounde is a Europa League winner, it would seem unlikely that United pursue a deal for the rumoured amount. United’s reasoning for this would be that they have spent large sums of money on young defenders previously. Which so far has proven unsuccessful and therefore may pursue a deal for a more elite defender like Napoli’s Koulibaly.
Kounde, 21, would vastly strengthen Solskjaer’s leaky defence and his potential arrival may take some of the expectation off the shoulders of Maguire and help aid the end of his abysmal form. Although, it is not destined that the Frenchman would adapt immediately to Premier League life, he has all the attributes that United have lacked in defence for several years.