Barcelona’s pursuit of a new central defender has led them back to a familiar face in Sevilla mainstay Jules Kounde.
The French international has been on the radars of the club for a while now, although speculations had died down recently. However, as we inch closer to the summer transfer window, the Blaugrana have reignited their interest in the 23-year-old and are eyeing a move.
Xavi Hernandez wants to sign a top-quality centre-back in the summer despite the impending arrival of Andreas Christensen from Chelsea as there are growing concerns over the fitness of Gerard Pique, who has been struggling with an adductor injury for the past couple of months.
As reported by Diario AS, three defenders are on the agenda at Camp Nou in the form of AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli, Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli and the aforementioned Kounde.
Given the latter’s age and experience, he is likely to be the more favoured option for the Blaugrana and as per the report, the club have initiated contact with Kounde’s camp as well as Sevilla to explore the possibility of a move.
However, his €90 million clause would pose a problem for Barcelona in the summer, which is why there is a chance that the Catalan giants might look to include a player as part of the deal to lower the price.
And, as per the report, Sergino Dest’s name is being considered as a potential makeweight that can be offered to Sevilla in the summer. It is claimed that Los Nervionenses’ director, Monchi, has the 21-year-old full-back on his radar.
Signed from Ajax in 2020, the USMNT star has not flourished as expected at Camp Nou and could be moved on by the club. So, using him as a sweetener in the deal for Kounde could make sense for Xavi & co., while Sevilla, too, might be receptive to such an offer.
As things stand, the report states that the French international wants to sign for Barcelona and play under Xavi. Given that he is currently on wages of €2.5 million per year, the Catalans can afford his salary even if they double his current earnings.
The transfer fee becomes the major sticking point, which they are now hoping to address by offering a player in a part-exchange deal. Whether there is any positive movement on this front in the coming weeks remains to be seen.