Premier League transfers: Here’s why Arsenal should sign Jules Kounde

Arsenal have been linked to Barcelona defender Jules Kounde as Mikel Arteta continues his hunt to replace Jurrien Timber. The Dutchman was acquired by Arteta and Edu this summer, however a devastating injury sustained on the opening day of the Premier League season has ruled the 22-year-old out for the foreseeable future. 

Just 50 minutes into his debut campaign with the Gunners, Timber was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury, which was later confirmed as damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, the news everyone associated with the club had feared. 

The former Ajax man seemed to be fitting into north London life perfectly, proving to be a pivotal new addition to Arteta’s system, however it’s now expected that the Spaniard will delve back into the market for his replacement during his absence. 

Twitter X account @BlxckNews relayed information that linked Arsenal with Kounde, claiming that the Frenchman is on the club’s wishlist. It’s said that the 24-year-old is valued by the Spanish champions between €60m-€70m (£51m-£60m), making the possible chase for the centre-back one of significant expense. 

After being left short in defence towards the business end of last season, the Gunners suffered due to their lack of depth, which was undoubtedly a contributing factor to them being unable to seal their first league title since 2004. Arteta and Edu will hope to avoid such mishaps this campaign, making a potential swoop for Kounde a positive one. 

Why should Arsenal sign Kounde?

Versatile defender 

Deployed primarily at centre-back, the Frenchman has the ability to play at right-back too, making him the perfect candidate to replace Timber, who has similar strengths and positional versatility along the back line. 

The right-footed central defender typically plays on the right side of defence for Barcelona, just as he did at Sevilla, and when called upon has been equipped on the right side of the back four. 

Showing strengths in his pace, reaction time to threat and composure when in possession, the 24-year-old could be the ideal calibre of player for Arteta to integrate into his system at Arsenal. 

Tactical flexibility 

Leading on from his positional flexibility, the Barcelona whiz fits the demographic of what Arteta wants from his defenders. A fast and versatile player, Kounde is good on the ball and has a strong eye for progressive play, as supported by his averages accumulated over the past year, with FBref recording his average of 7.18 progressive passes per 90. 

Why Arsenal should sign Jules Kounde
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In terms of Timber’s absence, the Frenchman could fill the role expected of the Dutchman due to him inhabiting a very similar skill set and approach to play. With Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba’s positions in central-defence very secure, Kounde would more than likely be used on the flank at the Emirates, something he has experience in at the Camp Nou. 

As recorded by Transfermarkt, the dynamic defender has featured at right-back 28 times in his career, where he has contributed heavily to goals, scoring two and assisting four to cement his versatility. 

Arteta favours the role of an inverted full-back, something that Kounde’s number’s suggest he could succeed at with little adaptation time thanks to his experience across the back line.  

Young player with high value

Touched on by @BlxckNews, one of the motives behind Arsenal’s reported eyeing of Kounde is their hope to take advantage of Barcelona’s dire financial situation by swooping for one of their favoured talents. 

Valued at €25m when signed by Sevilla in 2019, the Frenchman’s market value has risen to being within the region of €60m, with his price tag projected to rise should his level of performance continue. 

Kounde for Sevilla
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It would be outstanding business for Arsenal to obtain a player of just 24-years-old, with his best years ahead for a lower price than anticipated, with the potential of there being a hefty fee on a sale down the line. 

Experience playing at the top

At such a young age, the Paris-born gem has experienced highs with some of the best players in the world, winning La Liga last season with Barcelona under the watchful eye of Xavi. 

At international level too, the expectation is extremely high, which showcases how highly valued the defender is to both club and country, and his ability to perform at the very top. 

Considering the projected path to progression at the Emirates, Arteta could install an ambitious young star to his squad, who has key experience in challenging for silverware and game time among some of the world’s best. 

Last season, the mindset that Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus installed in the dressing room was integral to Arsenal’s challenge for the Premier League title, with a player of a similar calibre and similar experiences destined to have the same effect.