Barcelona defender Jules Kounde is reportedly facing an uncertain future at the Camp Nou after reportedly becoming disillusioned with his role under Xavi in his debut season at the Camp Nou.
Kounde signed for Barcelona from Sevilla for a fee of €55 million in summer 2023 and has enjoyed regular football, making 44 appearances in all competitions, but has been primarily used at right-back rather than his favored position in central defense.
The France international has now told Xavi that he’s unhappy with his role at the club and is open to leaving Barca after just one season, according to reporter Toni Juanmarti.
Kounde has not asked to leave but is willing to listen to offers. Barcelona are under financial pressure to sell players this summer which means any attractive offers for Kounde could now be seriously considered.
Xavi also has a host of options in central defense, with Andreas Christensen, Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia and Marcos Alonso in his squad. Barca are also set to add Inigo Martinez on a free transfer in the summer transfer window, according to ESPN.
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Why Is Kounde Playing Right-Back?
Kounde has ended up playing right-back this season, purely because of a lack of options in the position. Barca signed Hector Bellerin in the summer but the full-back left for Portuguese side Sporting in the winter after making just one start for Barca in La Liga.
Bellerin’s departure left Xavi with no recognized right-back in his first-team squad, meaning he opted to shift Kounde to the right and keep Ronald Araujo, who can also play in the position, in central defence alongside Christensen.
Sergi Roberto and Alejandro Balde have also featured at right-back at times this season, but it’s become clear as the campaign has progressed that Kounde is Xavi’s preferred choice on the right of the backline currently.
Who Will Be Barcelona’s Right-Back Next Season?
Kounde could even continue in that position next season, particularly as Araujo and Christensen have impressed in the heart of the defense and helped Barca keep an impressive 25 clean sheets in La Liga so far this season.
The performance of the duo means Kounde has slipped down the pecking order when it comes to central defenders, and he may face a real battle dislodging either Araujo or Christensen from the team next season.
Xavi has also admitted that replacing Sergio Busquets is his top transfer priority this summer, not signing a right-back, and the club’s financial problems may make any more transfers difficult.
Barca did sign Julian Araujo from LA Galaxy in the summer but there are already doubts about his suitability. According to Diario Sport, Araujo has had difficulty adapting to the team’s style of play and is yet to convince the coaching staff of his abilities.
Kounde spoke to El Pais shortly after his move to Barcelona and made it clear that center-back is his “favorite position” and “Xavi knows it,” as reported by Sport.
And now it seems his lack of minutes in central defense this season is causing the Frenchman to question his future at the club despite winning La Liga for the first time under Xavi.
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