Ivan Rakitic says he appreciates why Sevilla defender Jules Kounde is generating so much interest from across the continent, and would “understand” if an offer is lodged for the flourishing Frenchman.
Kounde, 22, has emerged as one of the most sought-after defenders in the European game, forming a formidable centre-back partnership with Diego Carlos to guide the perennial Europa League winners to a record sixth title last season.
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Under Julen Lopetegui, Kounde has proven one of the most competent modern defenders in the technical pastures of La Liga football, excelling in Andalusia with his rhythmic ability to play out from the back and hard-hitting exploits when on the back foot.
The Parisian is yet to be rewarded with a senior French cap, but Didier Deschamps may be unable to ignore his fellow countryman much longer if he continues to perform with such distinction at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, completing the most passes (1668) and touches (2187) of any centre-back in La Liga this season.
And it is that kind of form that has sparked such continental interest in Kounde, with Premier League clubs believed to be keeping tabs on the defender, leading to Rakitic conceding that he would “understand” if a bid were to transpire for his side’s prized centre-back.
“A boy like Kounde, at his age, if he gets an offer from one of the biggest clubs in the world, you have to understand the kid and his situation,” he told DjMaRiiO.
Monchi: Sevilla turned down a “magnificent” offer from City
Interest in the 22-year-old is nothing new these days, with Man City previously seeing their overtures rebuffed in the summer window.
The club’s transfer guru and illustrious director of football, Monchi, confirmed that Sevilla turned down an impressive offer from the Manchester club.
He told El Desmarque in November: “We felt or did what we thought was fair and in defence of the interests of the club, also in an ambitious way, because many people would have chosen to accept that offer.
“We value pros and cons and believe in the player, that has been key. We believe in the projection of a 21-year-old boy with a lot of ground to make up.
“Despite being a magnificent offer, very very good, it did not satisfy the requests or what we thought of the player.
“Perhaps it was not what he was worth, because possibly that offer was close to what he was worth at that moment; also we have to think about what he can be worth.”