REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: Sevilla's Koundé steals a march on Villarreal's Pau Torres

Sevilla centre-back Jules Koundé is high on Real Madrid's defensive wish list as Los Blancos consider possible defensive reinforcements.

Madrid
Real Madrid: Sevilla's Koundé steals a march on Villarreal's Pau Torres

With Sergio Ramos’ Real Madrid contract situation yet to be resolved and the issue of Raphaël Varane’s future also dragging on (in his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Chelsea, the Frenchman was asked about it as many as three times without giving a clear answer), Los Blancos are lining up potential replacements for the central defenders.

Alaba in line for Real Madrid move - and could be joined by another defender

David Alaba appears to be nearing a summer move to the Bernabéu, with reports in Germany claiming the Bayern Munich man is set to sign on a five-year deal, but if Ramos and Varane leave at the end of the season, further bolstering of the backline will be necessary. Although Madrid have Éder Militão and the versatile Nacho Fernández, who can operate anywhere across the backline, another right-sided central defender would be needed in addition to the left-sided Alaba.

Real Madrid now prefer Koundé to Torres

That’s where Sevilla’s Jules Koundé comes in. He sits at the top of Madrid’s defensive wish list together with Villarreal’s Pau Torres, another centre-back who is highly rated by Los Merengues. Both are young and have proven their enormous talent at two of LaLiga’s top sides, but the level of Koundé’s performances mean he now appears to have moved ahead of Torres in Madrid’s thinking.

Koundé, 22, has shone for Sevilla since moving to the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán two years ago, making 84 appearances for the Andalusians and putting himself in pole position for a place in France’s Olympics squad this summer. He has a 90-million-euro release clause and, although his advisers believe he could be prised from Sevilla for a smaller fee, his current employers won’t let him go easily.

Real Madrid eye Koundé bid of 50-60m euros plus a player

Koundé is also attracting admiring glances from the Premier League and was the subject of a rebuffed approach by Manchester City last summer. A sizeable offer for him could well see Sevilla cash in this time around, however. Madrid would be prepared to bid 50 to 60 million euros plus a player - possibly Jorge de Frutos, who is enjoying a fine campaign on loan at Levante.

Torres has also been a regular in the Spanish top flight for two seasons, but unlike Koundé, the 24-year-old is now a full international; indeed, he’s one of the candidates to partner Ramos at the heart of Spain’s defence at the Euros. His combination of imposing physique (he’s 6’4”), technical quality and tactical intelligence has made him a target for a host of major European clubs, and given his buy-out clause is 50m euros, he comes with an initial asking price considerably lower than Koundé’s.

Madrid feel Koundé would settle in more quickly than Torres

However, Real Madrid are prioritising a potential move for the Sevilla defender as they believe he represents a better fit for their team and is the likelier of the two to settle in quickly to life at Los Blancos.