Jules Koundé open to leaving Barcelona

Jules Kounde celebrates with his teammates after scoring their team’s fourth goal during the match between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona at RCDE Stadium on May 14, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Only a day after Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez said that a right-back was not the “No. 1 priority,” it undoubtedly has risen on their summer to-do list.

The reason being is center-back Jules Koundé has reportedly informed the club he is willing to leave as he wants to play in his natural position of center-back and believes that won’t be the case next season.

There was a bit of a saga last summer with Barcelona maneuvering to sign the Frenchman from Sevilla, eventually beating out Chelsea in the process. Initially brought in to form a partnership with Ronald Araújo, he’s primarily been used as a right-back, a position he’s played for with France but one he does not prefer.

Barcelona is not contemplating selling Koundé and will only listen to offers starting at €80 million.

Perhaps related, new reports are claiming that former Manchester City player Joao Cancelo has emerged as the front runner in their search for a right-back. He is represented by Jorge Mendes and the plan is to try to bring him in on loan or work out a deal where the Catalan side won’t have to pay a hefty transfer fee.

Koundé has made it known he prefers to play at center-back but has played as a right-back to help out the team. While he’s done a serviceable job, he signed with the intention to play at the heart of defense and may look to find a club where that wish will be granted. It’s important to stress he hasn’t told the club that he wants to leave rather that if a good offer comes for him, he is going to consider it.

Another factor that could lead to his potential departure is the emergence of Andreas Christensen. The former Chelsea player quickly acclimated to Barcelona’s style of play and considering he came as a free agent, many would say he was their best signing of the season. If he stays, Koundé could see himself as the third option. With Araújo and Christensen’s injury history, however, he’d be a great player to have as depth. Although, he’s unlikely to see it that way.