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Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde is reportedly slipping down Manchester United’s list of priority signings this summer. The development will excite fans of Arsenal and Tottenham who are both thought to be keen on the player, although the Spanish side are sure to demand a hefty price.
With United cranking up their pursuit of a centre-back partner for Harry Maguire after Jadon Sancho’s transfer finally looks sewn up, plenty of names have been thrown around.
It has been widely reported that Raphael Varane is the subject of real, concrete interest from the Red Devils, although he is now thought to be mulling things over after a hectic season.
Kounde was also on United’s hit list, although Dean Jones recently told The Done Deal Show that the Frenchman is now being overlooked at the expense of other targets.
One in particular is Villarreal’s Pau Torres, a promising young Spaniard who Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is very keen on in a deal which could see Eric Bailly head the other way.
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Indeed, that proposition makes sense in many ways as it would see the out-of-favour Bailly re-join the club he left in 2016.
Spurs and Arsenal will surely now prepare to pounce on Kounde in reaction to a fellow English heavyweight withdrawing from their position on the player.
Reports this week indicated that new Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo was keen to make the 22-year-old his first signing in north London.
Arsenal could also be forced to head back into the centre-back market as Ben White, with whom they were heavily linked in recent weeks, the subject of links with Manchester City.
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If they were to miss out on White, Mikel Arteta’s defensive ranks would look decidedly bare if a top four push is the objective next season.
However, some serious cash will have to be put on the table to convince Sevilla to play ball.
Last summer, City tried their luck with Kounde but a bid of around £50million was not enough to prise him away from the La Liga side.
After a stellar season in which Sevilla were in the title race until the dying weeks of the campaign, selling their star defender will not be top of their priority list if they want to give the league another crack.
The fact that the compact centre-half made it into the hugely competitive French Euro 2020 squad is a testament to his ability at such a young age.
Seemingly, though, United have decided it is not for them, paving the way for the two north London rivals to ramp up their interest in what could be a future star.
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