Arsenal man among Barca shortlist of Jules Kounde alternatives as Chelsea close in on €65m Frenchman.
According to Gerard Romero, Barcelona has five potential replacements for Jules Kounde of Sevilla, and one of them is Arsenal defender William Saliba.
Saliba has completed his third loan in as many seasons and is now back at Arsenal for preseason.
The 21-year-old was signed by the Gunners at £27 million in 2019, and his time with Marseille in 2021/22 was by far his most fruitful season.
After aiding Marseille to a second-place finish behind Paris Saint-Germain, he was nominated to Ligue 1’s Team of the Year and took home the league’s Young Player of the Year title.
Saliba hasn’t played in a competitive match for Arsenal yet, although it’s thought that Mikel Arteta has him on the roster for the 22/23 season.
However, following the teenage defender’s successful loan with the French club, Marseille is eager to sign him on a permanent basis.
Spanish writer Gerard Romero claims that Barcelona is interested in Saliba and could make a formal offer if they are unable in acquiring Jules Kounde, who is their top defensive target.
Along with the Arsenal player, the Blaugrana are keeping an eye on Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan, Josko Gvardiol of RB Leipzig, Inigo Martinez of Athletic Bilbao, and Roger Ibanez of AS Roma.
Saliba has not had many chances to play for the first team, but the Premier League club rates him highly, and he is now a full France international, so Barca won’t be able to get him for a low price.
Unlike Chelsea, who are the front-runners for the Sevilla defender’s signing, the Catalan club is not currently in the lead and has not submitted a proposal.
Jules Kounde, 23, has been advised by Barca to reject any offers he receives from other clubs in order to hold out for a move to the Nou Camp as their pursuit of him stalls, according to Foot Mercato.
Barcelona is reportedly the Frenchman’s preferred destination, although Chelsea is preparing a new offer after Sevilla rejected a previous one for €55 million.
Kounde, who made 44 appearances last season across all competitions, is allegedly worth €65 million to the La Liga club.