Jules Kounde, the French defender who helped Barcelona snatch the La Liga title last season, might be heading for the exit door. Whispers are swirling around the Camp Nou that the Catalan giants are open to selling the 25-year-old if the price is right.
Barcelona splashed €55 million on Kounde in 2022, hoping he’d be the defensive rock they craved. And initially, he was. He put in 29 solid La Liga appearances, a key cog in their championship run. This season, he’s racked up 18 more league games, but cracks have started to show.
Sure, Kounde’s been starting regularly, but his performances haven’t exactly set pulses racing. Whether in the heart of the defense or out at right-back, he’s not quite living up to expectations. Just in the past two weeks, Barca conceded four goals or more against Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, and Villarreal, with Kounde on the pitch for the whole shebang.
Club officials, according to Sport, are getting increasingly worried about Kounde’s leaky presence in the back. So much so, they’d be happy to wave goodbye if someone coughs up the right amount. Barcelona won’t give him away for peanuts, though. They’re eyeing a fee close to the €55 million they paid just 18 months ago.
Now, who might be interested in snatching Kounde from Catalonia? Chelsea, long-time admirers, were heartbroken when he chose Barca over them in 2022. But can they afford another shot at the Frenchman? With their defensive depth and tight finances, it’s a tough nut to crack.
Manchester United have also been linked to Kounde, but their transfer kitty isn’t exactly overflowing either. They’ll likely have to wait until summer before they can even think about splashing some serious cash.
Barcelona, facing a lower wage cap next season and Xavi’s impending departure, are under pressure to tighten their belts. Selling Kounde could be a way to free up some much-needed funds. Whether they decide to cash in or give him another chance, one thing’s for sure: Kounde’s future at the Camp Nou is as uncertain as a Barcelona backline facing Karim Benzema.