Jules Koundé

Welcome to Window Buying, a recurring characteristic wherein Defector highlights and analyzes among the largest gamers rumored for a big-money switch every window. Every summer season and January, we are going to check out these potential stars with the intention to reply two easy questions: Who the heck is that this man, and why is he value a lot cash?

The switch market’s rumor mill grinds hardest for attacking gamers. It is smart. Attackers are essentially the most thrilling gamers on the sector, and customarily have essentially the most seen impression on a crew’s successes. They’re additionally the simplest to evaluate, a minimum of in a surface-level means: in the event that they rating a lot of targets, and/or present a lot of assists, then you’ll be able to take into account them good. It stands to cause that chatter about potential strikes for the cool and enjoyable gamers would dominate the dialogue. Defensive gamers and their mooted transfers are much less horny, though a robust defender can flip a membership’s fortunes round simply as a lot as a shiny new striker.

Enter Jules Koundé. The 23-year-old Sevilla heart again is presently within the eye of a rumor storm that has him going both to England, or to France, or simply throughout Spain. The worth tag in play, as of proper now, is astronomical: His launch clause reportedly stands at €89 million, though Sevilla would probably take one thing within the €60–70 million vary in alternate for his or her star prospect. These are attacker costs, which speaks to how a lot the perfect golf equipment on the earth worth excellent heart backs. The query then turns into this: Is Jules Koundé an impressive heart again, and if that’s the case, is he value this type of worth to safe his skills?

Let’s take a dive into the curious case of Jules Koundé switch rumors. final summer season, Chelsea appeared set to signal the Frenchman, however the deal by no means went via. As is usually the case with switch rumors, as soon as a participant is linked to a membership at one thing past the exploration part, they’re linked endlessly. Coming into this summer season window, it appeared like Chelsea would go forward and full the transfer they beforehand got here so near securing.

However a brand new suitor has emerged: none aside from the infamously broke boys of Barcelona. By promoting off a proportion of their future tv rights, the Catalan membership has addressed most of its monetary woes. (It is one other matter whether or not it is a sensible thought to mortgage future earnings for a short-term payoff, after which splurge the majority of that cash on new signings. . . .) That has allowed the membership to enter the fray of quite a lot of summer season switch sagas: Barcelona has already overwhelmed Chelsea that Raphinhathey lead Chelsea within the hunt for Robert Lewandowskiand they’re additionally competing with Chelsea for Koundé. Since these rumors started in earnest final month, each subsequent report has moved Koundé nearer and nearer to Barcelona. Chelsea, for its half, has apparently broadened its heart again search within the meantime, eyeing Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli and Presnel Kimpembe from Paris Saint-Germain. That final report has now led to additional rumors that PSG needs Koundé to switch Kimpembe, although but one other report on Thursday has the latter heart again staying in France.

OK, so, that is so much. Within the switch sport, wherever there may be smoke, there may be often an enormous pile of cash ready to be lit on hearth. I really feel fairly assured in saying that Koundé will probably be on the transfer this summer season. Sevilla will not be a straightforward membership to barter with traditionally, however the amount of cash on provide appears too good to go up this time round. To guess on the lay of the land in the mean time: Barcelona appears to be within the lead, whereas the Blues are nonetheless however already in search of options in case they lose out. The PSG rumors really feel like bullshit in the mean time, but when Kimpembe actually does transfer, then the Parisian aspect would instantly turn out to be severe suitors.

Jules Koundé is quick. Some great benefits of which are straightforward to decipher. Attackers are usually quick, and defensive traces are likely to play very excessive up the pitch. Quick attackers like to feast on the oceans of open area behind excessive defensive traces, and quick defenders like Koundé are wanted to maintain the meals out of these attackers’ mouths. Alongside along with his top-end pace, Koundé is savvy with the best way he makes use of that tempo. He is good at studying his opponent’s positioning and measuring his personal location accordingly, utilizing his tempo to sag off the onrushing attacker with the intention to be higher lower off any harmful angles, realizing he possesses the pace to make up floor as soon as the attacker makes his transfer.

This tempo additionally permits the Frenchman to play as an eraser of defensive errors elsewhere on the pitch, which makes him an incredible pairing for an enormous and gradual aerial presence on the different heart again spot. Whereas his companions may try and step up and bodily block off attackers, Koundé can slot in behind and canopy for any errors or gradual recoveries. That he may learn the sport very properly for a 23-year-old makes him invaluable as a final gasp defender, and his tempo helps paper over the cracks in his sport.

On the opposite aspect of the ball, Koundé is a relaxed presence each on and off the ball. He isn’t essentially the most artistic of heart backs when passing—extra on this in a bit—however he is stable in possession, choosing out straightforward outlet passes both to his fellow heart again or to the precise again. He additionally invitations the opponent’s urgent fairly comfortably, given that he’s a unbelievable dribbler.

Followers of his groups may panic over how shut he lets the opposition get to him when carrying the ball, however his talent as a rule lets him break the press with a dribble earlier than discovering an open man within the area behind the defending attacker.

He may do that:

Though he has all of the tempo on the earth, that is the place Koundé’s bodily abilities cease. His 5-foot-10 top makes him comparatively brief for the place. He can bounce fairly excessive, which lets him problem crosses into the field, however there’s solely a lot one can do with leaping when giving up three or 4 inches to an attacking aerial risk. His slight construct additionally means he will be overpowered, giving attackers freer reign within the field than they might have towards somebody a bit greater. That is most likely Koundé’s largest flaw, since it is not one he can repair.

He is additionally fantastic, however not nice, at creating from the backline. Lately, heart backs who can stroke an ideal diagonal ball out to a large participant have turn out to be value their weight in gold; see Virgil van Dijk and Sergio Ramos for proof. Koundé is extra suited to shorter passes that hold possession shifting, since he would not have fairly the precise distance calibration to make these defense-splitting balls from lengthy vary.

Lastly, his lack of top makes him a web unfavourable on attacking set items. He isn’t ever going to be the kind of heart again that groups will purpose for on corners. In reality, his worth on set items is likely to be larger if he have been to remain out of the scrum within the field and search for longer vary efforts off rebounds; he is a reasonably good shooter for his place, and his tempo and dribbling ought to enable him to get to these rebounding balls and discover sufficient area to let it rip.

Herein lies the rub for Koundé. High groups throughout Europe have two main and contrasting defensive techniques, and Koundé is best suited to one in every of them by an extended shot. Let’s begin with the one he’s not suited to: a four-defender formation. His lack of physicality makes him a trickier associate in a two-center again formation, the place it’s extra helpful to have two gamers who’re sturdy within the air. As well as, heart backs in a again 4 usually would not have free rein to jaunt ahead in assault, which might severely restrict the usefulness of Koundé’s tempo and dribbling.

A 3-defender formation solves most of these points. In this sort of system, Koundé’s strengths are magnified, and his weaknesses are minimized. As the precise heart again in a again three, Koundé can cowl a lot of floor each ahead and backward, letting his proper wing again cost up as he pleases, whereas additionally offering cowl for the central defenders. Koundé would even have extra freedom to push himself excessive as a pseudo-right again, flooding the protection whereas his two defensive companions slide over to cowl. In a three-defender formation, his aerial shortcomings are additionally much less evident so long as the opposite two heart backs take the lead there, leaving him to do what he does greatest and nothing extra.

Costly transfers are likely to shake issues up, be it the dressing room, the roster hierarchy, the supervisor’s place, the followers’ outlook, and the home and worldwide panorama. With that in thoughts, this part tries to find out who stands to lose from the potential switch.

If Koundé strikes to Chelsea, the one individuals who may hate the transfer are opposing Premier League groups. His skillset matches completely into Thomas Tuchel’s system, and Thiago Silva particularly would like to have him as sweeping cowl to make up for the Brazilian’s deteriorated tempo.

If, as an alternative, Koundé strikes to Barcelona, ​​then this turns into much more sophisticated. Barcelona’s present right-sided heart again is Ronald Araújo, who is superb. Koundé’s arrival would both create a logjam at that place of two starter-quality gamers, or drive one in every of them to play on the left, the place they’re weaker. Together with doubtlessly inflicting one in every of Koundé or Araújo to play in an unfamiliar spot, Koundé would additionally push Andreas Christensen, Eric García, and Gerard Piqué down the depth chart, which might not please them however would most likely make Barcelona followers completely happy.

Both means, Koundé may additionally hate the transfer to Barcelona, ​​as a result of it will hamper him from reaching his most potential in a three-defender formation. . . except Xavi decides to throw custom within the rubbish and run a 3-4-3 himself. Both means, the match on the Catalan big will not be as clean as at Chelsea.

Necessary signings are certain to be controversial, so right here we embrace a consultant instance at every finish of the spectrum of sentiments.

That is solely the second version of Window Buying, however we have already got a glitch within the Defector Growth/Bust Scale. For Koundé, his potential will rely closely on the place he finally ends up. Regardless that the Premier League has huge and quick strikers that will give him issues, Chelsea’s dedication to the three-defender formation appears completely suited to him. I’d suppose that Koundé at Chelsea would finish properly for everybody concerned, giving him a excessive ranking on this scale.

Nonetheless, if he goes to Barcelona, ​​the bust potential, relative to his price ticket, is far larger. As there is no such thing as a hinting at whether or not Xavi would rework his system for one participant, it is unattainable to actually say how good Koundé could be if he stays in La Liga. He has had some good seasons at Sevilla, who play a four-defender formation that turns right into a three-at-the-back in possession, so he may completely shine in Barça’s 4-3-3. It is not as protected a wager because the Chelsea one although, which brings down his rating appropriately. For these causes, Jules Koundé grades at a 34.9 on the Defector Growth/Bust Scale.

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