Arsenal could beat Man Utd and Chelsea to first Jules Kounde bid but face two problems

Arsenal: Arteta details plan to return to top four

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Arsenal could make the first move in the race to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, according to reports. Manchester United and Chelsea are also interested in signing French centre-back Kounde. However, Sevilla’s asking price could prove to be an issue.

Arsenal are looking to strengthen at the back following the departure of David Luiz.

Rob Holding is the only recognised right-sided centre-back in the Gunners’ first-team squad.

William Saliba and Konstantinos Mavropanos are set to return from their respective loan spells but it remains to be seen if Mikel Arteta will want to use either on a regular basis from next season.

The links with Kounde point to the view that Arteta is keen to make a big addition at the back.

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And Spanish outlet Marca claim the Gunners could launch the first bid for the 22-year-old.

However, Arsenal face a couple of issues in their pursuit.

Firstly, Sevilla want up to £51million (€60m) for Kounde’s signature.

Arsenal are unlikely to be able to spend that much on one player this summer after missing out on European qualification.

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In fact, Marca say a lack of Champions League football is the second stumbling block for the north London side.

United and Chelsea are again listed as potential suitors for Kounde.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are also interested in the former Bordeaux ace, who has a £68.5m (€80m) release clause in his contract.

Arsenal, meanwhile, finished the Premier League season in eighth place and without a trophy to their name.

Arteta’s side won their final five league matches of the campaign to save some of their blushes.

The Gunners boss is yet to have a full pre-season in charge of his team and hopes that will have a big impact next term.

Arteta said last month: “I’m sad because this club deserves to be delivered trophies and the Champions League. We haven’t managed that.

“It’s very challenging circumstances but we’ve tried to stick together and do our best. It’s not been enough.

“We have to be very critical of ourselves, of myself, and then prepare the best possible way for next season to take advantage of that.

“Hopefully we can have the pre-season that I haven’t had, and have time to work with those players and try to be a better team.”

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