After a brilliant domestic season with Sevilla and earning a spot in Didier Deschamps' Euro 2020 France squad, there are many admirers of Jules Kounde in this summer's transfer market, including from the Premier League.
However, the Frenchman is believed to prefer a switch to Real Madrid, apparently revealing his wishes to international teammates Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe.
It was previously thought that Chelsea were in pole position to land the 22-year old's signature this summer but, according to Spanish newspaper ABC, Kounde's preference is to make a move to Los Blancos to play for a side competing for 'the big titles'.
A move to Real Madrid could be unlikely due to the financial implications. ABC suggest that Sevilla would demand that Los Blancos meet the player's release clause, which is a reported €80m - money that, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the club may not be willing to fork out.
However, after Sergio Ramos' eventual departure and amid the uncertainty surrounding Raphael Varane's future, Real may need to add another top quality defender to their ranks, even after the acquisition of David Alaba earlier in the window. The possibility of guaranteed first-team football should Varane leave the club is believed to be key to Kounde's preference.
Remaining in La Liga is also considered a factor in the defender's wish to join Real, after seamlessly acclimatising to life in Spain since his move to Sevilla from Bordeaux in 2019. Since then Kounde has featured 89 times for the club, aiding them to a title charge and eventual fourth-placed league finish last term.
His consistently brilliant displays during the 2020/21 campaign also earned him an international debut against Wales earlier in June and a second cap, playing the full 90 minutes against Portugal on matchday three of Euro 2020.