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Liverpool make offer for Barcelona's Jules Kounde?

Liverpool make offer for Barcelona's Jules Kounde?
© Reuters
Liverpool reportedly make an offer for Barcelona centre-back Jules Kounde, who is unhappy with his playing situation at Camp Nou.

Liverpool have reportedly come forward with an offer for versatile Barcelona defender Jules Kounde.

The former Sevilla man was seemingly on the brink of joining Chelsea in the most recent summer window, but La Blaugrana successfully hijacked a move in spite of their ongoing economic concerns.

Kounde commanded a £43.4m fee to leave Sevilla at the end of the 2021-22 season, and the France international will end the 2022-23 season with a La Liga title and Supercopa de Espana to his name.

Being deployed as a right-back and in the heart of defence, Kounde has claimed one goal and six assists from 38 games in the current campaign, starting 26 top-flight matches en route to the title.

The 24-year-old is under contract at Camp Nou until the end of the 2026-27 season, but with Barcelona expected to sign a new right-back this summer, his future is being called into question.

Barcelona's Jules Kounde in action with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema on January 15, 2023© Reuters

Manchester United are believed to have made an enquiry over a summer move, and according to the Daily Mail, Liverpool have also joined the race for his signature.

Jurgen Klopp has supposedly identified the ex-Bordeaux youngster as an ideal acquisition to beef up their backline, and the Reds have made an offer of an unspecified amount.

Kounde himself has played down reports of a move away from Catalonia, and the same sentiment has been echoed by Xavi, but the report alleges that he is frustrated at both his manager and club president Joan Laporta for being played out of position.

The 24-year-old made a name for himself as a centre-back at Sevilla, but he has started five of his last six La Liga games on the right-hand side, apparently to his chagrin.

As a result, Kounde could be tempted by a move to Liverpool, who would be able to guarantee him starts in the middle of the backline as Trent Alexander-Arnold remains their undisputed first-choice right-back.

Barcelona centre-back Jules Kounde pictured on August 1, 2022© Reuters

With Barcelona under pressure to slash their wage bill by as much as €200m (£173.5m) as they attempt to pull off the audacious re-signing of Lionel Messi, the Catalan giants would be happy to let Kounde depart for a fee of at least £52m.

Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate have formed Liverpool's first-choice centre-back pairing when fully fit this season, leaving Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Nat Phillips jostling for position on the bench.

Phillips, who was blocked from leaving in January due to the Reds' injury problems, is expected to head for the exit door this summer, while Matip could also be on the way out before his contract expires in 2024.

However, Liverpool are expected to prioritise midfield additions before they turn their attention to a new centre-back, having waved goodbye to James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on free transfers.

The Reds are believed to be closing in on a deal to sign Brighton & Hove Albion's Alexis Mac Allister, and Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi has admitted that the Argentine may have played his final game for the club.

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