As the new season approaches, Barcelona find themselves with an abundance of centre-backs. The current roster includes stalwarts like Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Inigo Martinez, and rising star Pau Cubarsi.

Additionally, Clement Lenglet and Eric Garcia will return from their loan spells, further crowding the defensive lineup. This surplus has prompted the club to contemplate offloading a few of their defenders to streamline the squad.

For a considerable period, the club didn’t see Jules Kounde as a candidate for departure. However, recent developments suggest otherwise. The French defender has attracted significant interest from Saudi giants Al-Ittihad.

So much that it seems Barca have not entirely ruled out his sale. This potential move is influenced by several factors, including the club’s financial situation and the ambitious plans of the PIF-owned club.

Kounde set for Saudi Arabia?

Al Ittihad’s desire to bolster their defense has led them to target Kounde as a prime acquisition. According to Marca, the club views the Frenchman as an ideal signing who could thrive in the Middle Eastern landscape.

Ramon Planes, Al-Ittihad’s sporting director and a former Blaugrana chief, believes that the time is ripe to pursue the deal due to Barcelona‘s ongoing financial challenges.

Meanwhile, Barca president Joan Laporta has publicly stated that the club does not require a significant sale to balance their books.

However, there is an underlying sense that they might consider substantial offers for players, especially given the club’s complex financial situation. Despite the president’s reassurances, Barcelona’s economic health might necessitate entertaining offers for valuable assets like Kounde.

Their defensive lineup is full of talent. In addition to Kounde, the team also includes Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Inigo Martinez, and Pau Cubarsi, with Clement Lenglet and Eric Garcia due to return.

Mikayil Faye is also pushing for a spot in the first team. This surplus of defenders presents a challenging scenario for the new management, led by Hansi Flick, who will need to make strategic decisions to maintain squad balance.

Jules Kounde’s future will be decided after Euro 2024
Jules Kounde’s future will be decided after Euro 2024

Jules Kounde’s future will be decided after Euro 2024

Kounde, who joined the Camp Nou outfit from Sevilla, has been a key player. He made 48 appearances this season, 45 of which were as a starter. He has contributed two goals and four assists. Despite his importance to the team, the financial allure of a substantial transfer fee could sway the club’s decision-makers.

Barcelona have high demands

The Saudi Pro League has made significant waves in the soccer world with its aggressive transfer spending. Stars like Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema have already made moves to the Middle East, and Al-Ittihad aims to continue this trend by securing Kounde. The club’s coaching staff believes that Kounde could adapt well to Saudi football, enhancing their defensive capabilities.

Ramon Planes, familiar with Kounde from his time at Barcelona, views the Frenchman as a perfect fit for Al-Ittihad. While Planes would have preferred to target Ronald Araujo, he acknowledges that the Uruguayan’s move to Saudi Arabia is unlikely, making Kounde a more feasible option.

Kounde’s contract with Barcelona runs until 2027, and any potential sale would demand a substantial fee, likely around $54 million.

This valuation reflects both his current form and the strategic importance of the player to the team. However, with the financial pressures and the need to streamline the squad, Barcelona might be inclined to negotiate.

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