Man Utd transfer news: Erik ten Hag monitoring Leverkusen’s Odilon Kossounou

Cameron Smith
Lisandro Martinez, Erik ten Hag, Man Utd
© ProShots

Manchester United are reportedly ‘monitoring’ Bayer Leverkusen star Odilon Kossounou after his brilliant start to the 2023-24 Bundesliga campaign.

The 23-year-old has started 14 league games so far this season as Leverkusen mount a legitimate title charge in Germany.

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Xabi Alonso’s side are currently unbeaten and have amassed 45 points from their opening 17 matches. As a result, they are top of the Bundesliga table, four points clear of Bayern Munich.

However, due to their excellent start to the campaign, interest in Leverkusen’s star players is sky high.

Jeremie Frimpong and Florian Wirtz are both admired by several top clubs, Victor Boniface reportedly has suitors and Alonso has even been tipped to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

Another name that has been linked with a move away is Kossonou, and Man Utd are keeping tabs on the defender, as per Florian Plettenberg.

The Sky Germany reporter posted on X: “News Odilon Kossounou: Due to his strong season with Leverkusen, he is on Manchester United’s extended list!

“He’s not not a top target but they are monitoring him. Kossounou, key player for Alonso. Contract until 2026. One to watch for summer transfer window.”

Why Odilon Kossounou is perfect for Man Utd

With Raphael Varane likely to leave, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof facing uncertain futures, Jonny Evans past his best and Lisandro Martinez suffering several injury issues lately, signing a new centre-back is a necessity for Man Utd.

Erik ten Hag’s side have been linked with several players who fit this description in recent months, including Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo and Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite, but Kossounou might be the perfect signing.

Odilon Kossounou, Bayer Leverkusen
© ProShots – Odilon Kossounou, Bayer Leverkusen

Although Jonathan Tah is the more well-known Leverkusen defender, he has been outshone by Kossounou this season, with the Ivory Coast star playing a key role in helping Alonso’s team maintain the best defensive record in the Bundesliga.

The 23-year-old is tasked with much of Leverkusen’s ball progression from deep and he ranks extremely well in progressive passing and progressive carrying metrics as a result.

In fact, Kossounou is in the top three percent of centre-backs in Europe’s top five leagues for progressive carries per 90 (1.84) and the top nine percent for progressive passes per 90 (5.4), as per FBref.

Furthermore, data analytics experts SciSports rate Kossounou as one of the best centre-back talents in world football.

The Ivorian, who is representing his country at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, currently has a SciSkill rating of 105.6, while his potential is 124.9.

For comparison, he would become Man Utd’s third-best player if he moves to Old Trafford (behind Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes) and his potential is higher than any current Red Devils star.

Odilon Kossounou vs Man Utd squad
© ProShots – Odilon Kossounou vs Man Utd squad

Although Tottenham Hotspur rank as Kossounou’s best transfer option as per SciSports’ Career Advice tool, Man Utd can’t afford to miss out on a player with the Ivorian’s level of talent.

Kossounou is currently rated as a better centre-back than Levi Colwill, Josko Gvardiol and David Alaba by SciSports and he has the potential to become one of the world’s very best.

He may not be deemed one of Man Utd’s priority targets, but the Red Devils would be wise to sign the Leverkusen star before it’s too late and land the perfect Lisandro Martinez centre-back partner in the process.

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