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Manchester United transfer news: Jules Kounde and Pau Torres are United’s top centre-back targets

Jules Kounde
(Image credit: PA)

Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Villarreal’s Pau Torres top Manchester United’s shortlist for a new centre-back to partner Harry Maguire.

According to 90min, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prioritising the La Liga pair having decided that Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly aren’t up to the job.

Maguire has been virtually ever present since joining from Leicester City for £80million two years ago, but the Man United captain has failed to establish a good understanding with the club’s other centre-backs.

While Maguire is disciplined and aerially dominant, he lacks pace and has been left exposed alongside Lindelof this season.

It’s felt that Kounde and Torres would both compliment Maguire better, giving Man United a more stable foundation from which to launch a title challenge.

Although the Red Devils currently sit second and look certain to qualify for the Champions League, they trail Manchester City by 14 points and have drawn too many games to be true contenders.

Kounde arrived at Sevilla from Bordeaux in July 2019, helping the Spanish side to win the Europa League in his debut season.

They beat Inter Milan 3-2 in the final, having dumped out Man United a round earlier, recovering from Bruno Fernandes’ early goal to claim victory.

A French Under-21 international, Kounde is yet to be called up by the senior, but it’s surely only a matter of time.

Torres is two years older than Kounde, and has spent the entirety of his career at Villarreal, with the exception of a season on loan at Malaga in the Segunda Division.

He has made 62 appearances for his boyhood club, who are seventh in La Liga and at risk of missing out on a place in Europe.

Torres has won seven caps for Spain, starting with a goal on his debut against Malta, but missed out on a place in Luis Enrique’s latest squad through injury.