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Ratcliffe offers £33m with Barcelona to ‘agree sacrifice’ of Arsenal target ‘against Flick’s will’

According to reports, Manchester United have joined Premier League rivals Arsenal in the race to sign Jules Kounde from FC Barcelona.

Man Utd are known to be in the market for new defenders heading into next season and one of their priorities is to sign at least one new centre-back.

Kounde to Man Utd?

Lisandro Martinez returned to full fitness during the final weeks of the 2023/24 season and Man Utd are searching for his new partner with Raphael Varane set to leave the club upon the expiry of his contract later this month.

The Red Devils have been heavily linked with England pair Jarrad Branthwaite and Marc Guehi in recent weeks, but Kounde – a reported target of Arsenal – is an alternative option.

The France international was targeted by Premier League clubs before he joined Barcelona from Sevilla during the 2022 summer transfer window for around £42m.

Kounde has proven to be a brilliant signing for Barcelona and his versatility has been useful as he’s regularly been used at centre-back and right-back.

Despite this, according to reports in Spain, the 25-year-old has a ‘chance of leaving’ Barcelona this summer.

It is noted that Barcelona are targeting Nico Williams, Luis Diaz and Joshua Kimmich, but ‘sales are required’ to make these deals possible.

Ansu Fati, Sergiño Dest, Clement Lenglet, Eric Garcia, Pablo Torre and Ferran Torres are mentioned as ‘transferable players’ who could provide the club with ‘significant income’.

But it may be ‘necessary to sell some key players’ and along with Kounde, Raphinha, Ronald Araujo and Frenkie de Jong are candidates to leave.

Regarding Man Utd’s interest in Kounde, it is said that the defender ‘will be sacrificed’ if the Premier League giants submit a substantial bid and an offer has already been ‘put on the table’.

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The report adds: ‘According to sources, United would be willing to put 40 million euros as an initial offer. For this price, Joan Laporta is clear: he is not selling.

‘However, if the 60 million is reached, a figure more in line with what Barcelona paid for his signing, he will agree, against his will and that of Flick, to enter into a negotiation.’

Man Utd are also working with a tight budget, with The Mirror naming eight players up for sale as they look to ‘generate more than £150m’.

‘United are willing to listen to offers for most of their squad, with the exception of Andre Onana, Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho, Amad Diallo and Rasmus Hojlund, all of whom have been ring-fenced by the club.

‘The rest of United’s squad are available to buy if clubs match United’s valuation of players, enabling them to reinvest that money on upgrades to Erik ten Hag’s under-performing squad, which achieved a Premier League lowest-ever finish of eighth last season.

‘Players set to leave United this summer include Casemiro, Victor Lindelof, Christian Eriksen, Donny van de Beek, Antony, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood, with the club hoping to generate more than £150m – in addition to the £50m already available – to plough back into the squad.

‘England striker Marcus Rashford, who missed out on the Euro 2025 squad, will also be sold if any club matches United’s valuation of the 26-year-old, who managed just eight goals last season.’

READ NEXT: Man Utd: Rashford, Casemiro sold and Mount stays as Ratcliffe gets rid of 11 in summer fire sale

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