Barcelona add Arsenal man to shortlist of Kounde alternatives as Chelsea close in on Frenchman

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Reported Barcelona target William Saliba during a pre-season friendly Credit: PA Images
Reported Barcelona target William Saliba during a pre-season friendly Credit: PA Images

Arsenal defender William Saliba is on a five-man Barcelona shortlist of alternatives to Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, according to Gerard Romero.

Saliba has just returned to Arsenal for pre-season following his third loan spell in as many campaigns.

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The Gunners paid £27million to sign the 21-year-old in 2019 and his stint with Marseille in 2021/22 was by far the most successful season in his career.

He was named in Ligue 1’s Team of the Year and won the league’s Young Player of the Year award after helping Marseille to a second-place finish behind Paris Saint-Germain.

Saliba is yet to make a competitive appearance for Arsenal, but it is believed that he is a part of Mikel Arteta’s plans for 22/23.

However, Marseille are very keen on permanently signing the young defender after his fruitful loan spell with the French club.

And according to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero, Barcelona are interested in signing Saliba and could make an official offer if they fail to land their top defensive target, Jules Kounde.

As well as the Arsenal star, the Blaugrana are looking at Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar, RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol, Athletic Bilbao’s Inigo Martinez and AS Roma’s Roger Ibanez.

Despite his lack of first-team opportunities, Saliba is highly rated by the Premier League club and is now a full France international, meaning Barca will not be able to land him on the cheap.

The Catalan club are not leading the race for Kounde as things stand and have not tabled a bid, unlike Chelsea, who are the front runners for the Sevilla defender’s signature.

As Barca’s pursuit of Kounde falters, they have desperately told the 23-year-old to hold out for a move to the Nou Camp by rejecting any offers he receives from elsewhere, as per Foot Mercato.

Barcelona is said to be the Frenchman’s preferred destination, however, Chelsea are plotting a fresh bid after a €55m offer was turned down by Sevilla.

The La Liga club reportedly want €65m for Kounde, who made 44 appearances across all competitions last season.

The article Barcelona add Arsenal man to shortlist of Kounde alternatives as Chelsea close in on Frenchman appeared first on Football365.com.

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