Arsenal are being linked with a variety of different players ahead of the opening of the summer transfer window, with the Gunners expected to have a busy few months before the 2021/22 campaign starts.
A central defender is said to be on Mikel Arteta’s shortlist, with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde rumoured to be a target for Arsenal after his rise in La Liga over the past two years.
The Gunners‘ interest in Kounde is being described as ‘audacious’ by many largely as a consequence of the level that he’s reached in recent times, linked with moves to Manchester City and Barcelona.
Still just 22 years-old, the French centre-back has proved to be quite an unorthodox centre-back, largely because of his offensive tendencies and what he does in possession of the ball.
Arteta has expressed his desire to play attacking football at the Emirates, stating: “My philosophy will be clear, I want the football to be expressive, entertaining. I cannot have a concept of football where everything is based on the opposition.”
“We have to dictate the game, we have to be the ones taking the initiative, and we have to entertain the people coming to watch us.”
In order to perform in such an offensive manner, the club simply have to buy attacking players in the transfer market regardless of their position, and Kounde fits that bill.
This season, the Frenchman has scored twice while registering one assist in La Liga, but his contributions stretch beyond goals and assists.
He placed 15th in the division this season for total progressive passes, with Atletico Madrid’s Mario Hermoso being the only fixed centre-back to rank ahead of him in the standings.
In addition to playing through the thirds of the pitch with passes, Kounde is very inclined to carry the ball; he placed 21st in La Liga for progressive carries this season and second for centre-backs behind only Clement Lenglet of Barcelona.
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Kounde also a keener dribbler than the typical centre-back, with no central defender in the Spanish top-flight completing as many as his 32 this season.
The Sevilla man has interesting qualities that could be harvested by Arteta as he gradually shapes his new version of Arsenal, with the intention being for the Gunners to dominate and score goals in abundance as they once did.
Kounde certainly wouldn’t be cheap, but his ability to add to an attacking game from the heart of defence could be enough for him to be deemed as worth the rumoured £50m price.