The lowdown: Hot property
Actively pursued by Chelsea for much of the summer of 2021, Kounde has also attracted admiration from Manchester United and Arsenal in recent times.
The 23-year-old force of nature has already amassed 203 senior outings having spent time at Bordeaux before moving to Sevilla in 2019 with an ever-rising stock.
Now, as the Magpies embark on a busy summer transfer window, Eddie Howe could be looking to add the France international to the squad at St James’ Park…
The latest: Big money ready
As per Spanish sources, translated by SW, Newcastle are ‘willing to pay’ the lofty €90m (£77.6m) release clause to sign Kounde, but Sevilla could be ready to sell for just €65-70m.
It’s claimed that the 11-cap France ace is ‘highly valued’ in the Premier League but La Liga giants Barcelona are also keen on signing the highly-rated centre-back.
The report goes on to say that Barca would be unable to compete with the North East club ‘in terms of money’ were it to become a straight shootout for the defender dubbed an athletic ‘freak’ by media members during a standout display in the Copa Del Ray semi-finals in 2021.
The verdict: Make it happen
Albeit eye-watering figures by comparison to the current record expenditure of £39.6million that saw Joelinton arrive from Hoffenheim, smashing club records to sign Kounde would be a sensational piece of business from Newcastle and could perhaps be viewed as a watershed moment in years to come as the Magpies arrive at the very top table.
One major stumbling block for what is an otherwise attainable deal is that the towering ace is set to undergo surgery to fix a long-standing pelvis injury in an attempt to be fit for the 2022/23 campaign.
Injury aside, far from a potential ‘Robinho moment’ for the Toon, the French star is very much a player coming into the pinnacle of his career after 44 appearances in 2021/22 that yielded an impressive 7.14 Sofascore rating, comprising of 5.3 successful duels and 3.1 clearances on average per game.
Boasting a range of strong attributes in both ball playing and defensive facets (WhoScored), Kounde – who holds a stylistic likeness with such star names as Joel Matip, Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba (Fberef) – would be a supreme addition to the ranks at St James’ Park as Howe addresses a key area of perceived weakness after Newcastle shipped 62 goals during 2021/22.
In other news: Newcastle now eyeing ‘superstar in the making’ from Ligue 1, read more here
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