INEOS hope to capitalise on European giants’ precarious financial woes with cut-price deal for Arsenal target

Manchester United have again found themselves linked with Barcelona’s Jules Kounde as INEOS continue their centre-back hunt.

Senior chiefs at Old Trafford will now be scurrying to line up alternatives after they were made aware that a deal for Jean-Clair Todibo is now almost entirely off the table.

This is due to INEOS’ involvement at both Nice and United, which has forced UEFA to intervene and ban any potential business between the two Sir Jim Ratcliffe-owned clubs – as confirmed by Fabrizio Romano yesterday.

Bolstering the backline is a non-negotiable this summer, and there’s no doubt that Erik ten Hag has made that clear to the hierarchy now that he’s had to take a backseat in transfer dealings.

As such, personal terms were agreed with Jarrad Branthwaite last week before United tested Everton’s resolve with a £35 million proposal. This was swiftly rejected and deemed ‘unacceptable’ by the Toffees, but it did demonstrate United’s intent to try and complete business early in the window, which is something fans aren’t used to seeing.

Reports suggest the two Premier League sides remain locked in negotiations over the 21-year-old, and while those talks continue, the Reds have also turned to Kounde as another potential acquisition.

Read more: Romano says United’s No.1 target is ‘super keen’ on Old Trafford move in much-welcomed update

Reds to rival Gunners in Kounde swoop

Like the Merseyside outfit, Barcelona are navigating a precarious financial situation of their own. Their need to balance the books this summer could force the board’s hand into sanctioning the exits of some of their most sellable assets, with Kounde regarded as such.

Football365 claims United and Arsenal are mulling over moves for Kounde, who is currently on international duty with France at the Euros and is therefore unable to engage in discussions himself.

INEOS currently value the 25-year-old at €40m (£33.8m), although bids will only be considered if the Blaugrana’s valuation of €60m (£50.7m) is met.

More Stories Barcelona Jarrad Branthwaite Jules Kounde