Can Jules Kounde solve Man Utd’s defensive issues?
Manchester United’s defensive issues were laid bare in their 1-1 draw at struggling West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, with a lot of questions over the partnership between Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.
There have been suggestions that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will focus on strengthening his defence in the summer, and, according to reports in Spain, he is set to go all out to sign Sevilla’s promising Frenchman Jules Kounde.
La Razón, via the Sky Sports Transfer blog, say the Red Devils are willing to pay £61m to bring the 22-year-old to Old Trafford.
Failing to beat the Baggies may well have been the final nail in their title hopes. They sit seven points adrift of neighbours Manchester City having played a game more.
While Kounde has impressed at Sevilla after signing from Bordeaux in the summer of 2019, he is yet to play for France and there could be some who will question whether he is experienced enough for Manchester United.
Even if Solskjaer does identify Kounde as the man to solidify United ahead of next season, there are no guarantees that they will be able to sign him with plenty of other clubs on alert and watching his progress.
But there is little doubt, statistically at least, that Kounde would improve United’s defence. Given that Maguire is less mobile than most top defenders, he could really compliment the captain and form a formidable partnership.
In comparison to the man he would most likely replace, Lindelof, Kounde stacks up well. He attempts more tackles than the Swede, and has a better success rate with 0.7 completed from an average of 1.1 per game, compared to Lindelof’s 0.5 from 0.9.
Lindelof’s record with duels per game is 3.9 successful duels from an attempted 7.1, while Kounde’s stands at 5.7 from 9.8. The current Manchester United man has long been criticised for his aerial prowess, and while Lindelof wins an average of just 2.6 from 4.2 challenges in the air, Kounde averages 3.1 from 5.6.
There is little doubt that Kounde has a bright future ahead of him and he certainly fits the bill as a typical Manchester United signing, they need an experienced head at the back who will instantly turn things around. With the jury still out on Sevilla’s young defender, it is tough to see him being the man they need.