Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Manchester United Identify Sevilla Defender As January Target: Right Choice For The Red Devils?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, ESPN has claimed that Manchester United have identified Sevilla defender Jules Kounde as a January target. It is believed that the Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still looking to strengthen his defensive department and could make a move for the French centre-back if their defensive problems do not go away in the coming months (via ESPN).

Kounde’s Impressive Rise At The Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium

The Paris-born youngster experienced a solid season at Seville in the previous campaign when he made 40 appearances, registering two goals and one assist across all fronts. On the defensive end, Kounde managed to prove his worth by averaging 0.8 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 3.0 clearances, 0.8 shots and 0.6 dribbles per game in the 2019-20 La Liga season.

The 21-year-old even distributed the ball relatively well when playing his way out from the back as evident from his pass completion rate of 85.9% in top-flight football (stats via whoscored). He has begun this campaign on a bright note after featuring in three league matches for the Spanish side while earning one clean sheet in the process.

Kounde is a promising centre-back on the rise and could prove to be a shrewd, long-term signing for the Red Devils when the transfer window reopens in January. For now, Solskjaer will have no choice but to figure out a way to get the best out of his current centre-half options at Old Trafford.

Manchester United identify Jules Kounde as a January target (Kounde is seen in the picture)
Sevilla’s French defender Jules Kounde (L) vies with Valencia’s French forward Kevin Gameiro during the Spanish league football match Sevilla FC against Valencia CF at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on July 19, 2020. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

What Will The French Defensive Ace Bring To The Theatre Of Dreams?

Kounde is a moderately-paced centre-back who can make some lung-bursting recovering runs at the back when caught out of position. He has gradually transformed himself into a reliable defender under the stewardship of Julen Lopetegui.

The French whizkid has often come to his side’s rescue by sensing the danger quickly and clearing his lines when the opposition attackers are looking to threaten inside his penalty box. However, he is yet to taste football in England and might struggle to adapt to the physicality and high intensity of Premier League football if Solskjaer can lure him to the north-west of England this winter.

Is Kounde The Right Choice For Man United?

At 21, Kounde could potentially become a class act at the centre of the defence, but he still has a long way to go as far as his progression is concerned. He will add some bite and steel to Solskjaer’s first-team and could increase competition for places within his squad.

Furthermore, the French starlet will undeniably be an upgrade over Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones. He is even good enough to rival Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe for a place in the Man United first XI. All in all, Kounde seems like a great choice for the Red Devils to consider in January as he will help sort out some of Solskjaer’s defensive concerns.

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