Manchester United FC

Manchester United 'not willing' to meet Jules Kounde release clause

Tom Gott
Feb 25, 2021, 9:30 AM GMT
Jules Kounde is high on Man Utd's wish list
Jules Kounde is high on Man Utd's wish list | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Manchester United remain keen on Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde but are not prepared to trigger his release clause of £68m.

Kounde has blossomed into one of the most exciting young defenders in world football, shining at the heart of a Sevilla defence that has conceded the joint-fewest goals in La Liga alongside leaders Atletico Madrid.

Kounde has been excellent for Sevilla
Kounde has been excellent for Sevilla | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

There are a number of top sides sniffing around the 22-year-old, with United thought to be particularly interested, but the problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is that Kounde really isn't going to come cheap.

The Daily Mail state that Sevilla are well aware of just how valuable Kounde is and are not prepared to lower their asking price, regardless of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. If a club wants him, they'll have to trigger his £68m release clause, but United are not prepared to do that.

A large part of Sevilla's argument is that they believe Kounde could go on to be worth far more than that. They rejected a £62m bid from Manchester City last summer because of that reason, prompting Pep Guardiola to go out and sign Ruben Dias instead.

City refused to meet Kounde's release clause
City refused to meet Kounde's release clause | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

United are expected to keep monitoring Kounde in the hope that his asking price drops slightly, but there is a reluctance to splash out such a huge fee on one player when there are several areas of the squad which need improving.

It was recently reported that United have put their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho on hold for similar reasons. Spending close to £100m on a winger would be foolish when centre-back, striker, right-back and defensive midfield are all areas of concern.

Having said that, it was claimed that United are prepared to make one significant purchase and then compliment that with a few budget signings. If they met Kounde's £68m release clause, that would mean cheaper targets would need to be found for other areas. Goodbye Erling Haaland.

United are also interested in Haaland
United are also interested in Haaland | Lars Baron/Getty Images

Perhaps this suggests that United are saving their money for another position, safe in the knowledge that they could find cheaper options at the back. They have been offered Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic, who was on the radar as an alternative to Harry Maguire in 2019, although that deal is not thought to be high on the to-do list just yet.

Other targets on United's radar include Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings and Villarreal's Pau Torres.

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