Sevilla ‘fear’ Man Utd swoop for Kounde in January after fighting off Chelsea

Manchester United are set to splash the cash in January to try and pluck Jules Kounde from under the nose of Premier League rivals Chelsea.

The Blues' deal for the Frenchman collapsed over the summer with Kounde remaining with Sevilla, who now possess the best defensive record in La Liga.

Thomas Tuchel's side had agreed personal terms with the 22-year-old but Sevilla were unwilling to lower the asking price on their prized asset who has an €80m (£68m) release clause in his contract.

The failed signing hasn't seemed to have haltered their progress though.

Chelsea sit top of the table, three points ahead of last season's champions Manchester City.

The same on-field success cannot be said for Man Utd though.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have kept just one clean sheet in their last 13 matches and many supporters are calling for the Norwegian boss to go.

But now the Red Devils look set to bolster their defensive ranks and back their manager by spending big in the winter window.

Spanish outlet AS allege Man United "continue to monitor" the situation surrounding Kounde and are weighing up the possibility of a potential move.

The report states Sevilla "fear" that the 13-time Premier League winners will bid for the Frenchman in January and the club will be powerless to prevent a move if United match his buyout clause.

Would Jules Kounde be a good signing for Manchester United? Let us know in the comments section.

Solskjaer knows there is no room for negotiation after Chelsea's failed pursuit in the summer and the Red Devils will have to match Kounde's release clause if they are to secure his services.

The Norwegian has already tried to plug United's leaky backline once already this season, through the £50m acquisition of Raphael Varane.

Already a key figure in the Red Devils defence, the 28-year-old has played 90 minutes in every league match he's been available.

But injuries have stalled his progress.

The former Real Madrid defender has started just six league matches this season with the defeats to Leicester, Man City and Liverpool all coming in his absence.

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But with Solskjaer now preferring a five-man backline, there is a need for more defensive-minded personnel in his squad.

United have just four recognised centre-backs in Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Varane.

Phil Jones is yet to feature for Manchester United this season after coming back from a long-term injury.

The report from AS claims Sevilla have acknowledged Kounde will likely be moving on at the end of the season and are resigned to losing their star man.

However, his departure will be done on their terms which will involve a bumper fee in their direction.

Having backed Solskjaer heavily in the summer, it remains to be seen whether the Norwegian will be given the necessary funds once again in January.

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