Manchester United’s search for a centre-back looks set to change tack, with the club reportedly unwilling to pay Jules Kounde’s £68million transfer fee.
United are said to have made the Sevilla defender a top priority this summer, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking to pair Harry Maguire with a world-class partner.
Kounde, 22, has emerged as one of Europe’s top defensive prospects, and was an option for Manchester City before they signed Ruben Dias.
Dias has been a revelation since arriving at the Etihad, with City storming clear at the top of the table.
Pep Guardiola’s men have kept 24 clean sheets in all competitions. To that end, United were keen on bringing in Kounde to make a similar impact.
However, a report in the Daily Mail claims that the Red Devils are refusing to meet his £68m fee. That is significatly lower than his €90m release clause, but still too much.
The Mail reports that Sevilla are refusing to budge on the figure. The main reason for that decision concerns their current finances, which have been hit hard by Covid.
Sevilla’s sporting director Monchi revealed his club received a “magnificent offer” from City last summer. However, they had to turn it down as it fell short of their price tag.
“Despite being a magnificent offer, very, very good, it did not satisfy the requests or what we thought of the player,” he told Spanish publication El Desmarque.
“Perhaps it was not what he was worth. Because possibly that offer was close to what he was worth at that moment. But we also have to think about what he can be worth [in the future].”
United turn to other targets
While the reigning Europa League champions will not let him leave on the cheap, United are also determined not to pay over over the odds for a central defender again – having already splashed out £80m for Maguire.
With a deal for Kounde now seemingly on the backburner, United will now look for cheaper alternatives.
Malmo centre-back Anel Ahmedhodzic is one such option. That is despite an €11m agreement being in place for his to join Atalanta.
United are likely to offer €13m to try and gazump the Italian side. Read more…