Man Utd ready to abandon ‘practically done’ transfer to land €80m Chelsea target

Will Ford
Manchester United-linked defender Kim Min-jae before a match for Napoli

Manchester United are reportedly ready to back away from a deal for Napoli star Kim Min-jae to focus on the signing of Jules Kounde.

Reports last week claimed Kim’s move to United was ‘practically done’ with Napoili set to ‘pocket €58m’ for the South Korean.

It was later claimed that Kim is ‘patiently waiting for the opening of the window to get his big move to the Premier League’.

A house in Manchester has ‘already been secured’ for the centre-back, who will ‘fly to’ England to complete his move to United at the earliest available opportunity.

But now, AS (via TEAMtalk) claim United are ready to abandon that move for Kim to instead sign Barcelona star Kounde.

The France international looked certain to join Chelsea last summer before Barcelona swooped in to sign him from Sevilla for €50m.

The defender has helped Barcelona win La Liga at a canter this term but a report earlier this week claimed Kounde is ‘unhappy in the full-back position’, where he has featured for the majority of the season.

It’s claimed Kounde ‘could leave this summer to land at another team that offers him the conditions he wants’.

A separate report from 90min indicated Barcelona were ‘shocked’ by Kounde’s ‘transfer plan’;  ‘startled by his sudden desire to leave the club just one year after joining from Sevilla’.

’90min understands that Barcelona are surprised with this development and are not impressed with Kounde.

‘Barca’s financial woes and need to meet La Liga’s feasibility plans means they may need to sell key players in order to bring in top transfer targets. Kounde was not someone thought to have been on the chopping block but his sudden change of heart could change the club’s stance.’

AS claim United have made contact with Barcelona to enquire about Kounde, who would be an alternative to Kim.

Kounde’s versatility would be a big plus for Erik ten Hag, though given the Frenchman’s apparent frustration at being played at full-back this season, the United boss may be wise not to labour over that point in negotiations.

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