Manchester United are reluctant to pay the asking price for Jules Kounde because they are still smarting from paying £80m for Harry Maguire.
That is the verdict of Stan Collymore. The pundit believes that United got their fingers burned after stumping up a world-record fee for a defender in the summer of 2019.
The England man arrived from Leicester and has been a regular under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but United’s defensive problems have not gone away.
Solskjaer is still understood to be looking for another centre-back this summer. The Daily Star says United have nailed down their two priorities this summer – Erling Haaland and Sevilla defender Kounde.
But Ed Woodward and United are reportedly reluctant to meet the 22-year-old’s £68m release clause.
The centre-back is emerging as one of the brightest prospects in LaLiga with Sevilla.
United are likely to face competition for Kounde’s signature. The former Bordeaux man is attracting attention from Juventus, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
And Collymore says United’s caution may see them miss out on the player.
“Manchester United’s apparent refusal to meet Jules Kounde’s £68million release fee smacks more of them being burned by Harry Maguire’s price tag than it does of the defender’s ability to be a vital piece of the jigsaw at Old Trafford,” Collyore wrote in his column for The Sunday Mirror.
“The Frenchman is 22, playing in a quality league and being courted by some of Europe’s big boys.
“So you either stump up or you miss out and, trust me, United can’t keep missing the boat when it comes to central defenders for much longer.”
Neville hails Solskjaer
Gary Neville has praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for making United “better suited” to the Premier League than under Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho famously claimed that finishing second behind Manchester City in 2018 – with 81 points – was his best ever achievement as a manager.
However, his tenure at Old Trafford quickly turned sour and he got the sack before the turn of the year.
As such, former United forward Solskjaer took his place. Despite spells of uncertainty, the Norwegian is well on the way to guiding United to a second successive top-four finish.
In addition, United have not lost in 20 away matches since the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield last January.
“To actually go 20 games away from home needs applauding because it’s hard to do that,” Neville told Sky Sports.