Emile Heskey believes Arsenal are crying out for a natural-born “leader” in the mould of Tony Adams at centre-back – and Sevilla’s France international Jules Kounde could be the answer to their prayers.
Looking back on his two seasons at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, Kounde can pat himself on the back for a job well done.
Alongside Diego Carlos, the former Bordeaux youngster was outstanding as Sevilla won yet another Europa League title during his debut season at the Andalusian giants.
In his second season, Julen Lopetegui’s side flirted with the La Liga crown before securing a club-record points tally of 77.
The chances of Kounde sticking around for a third term on the citrus-scented streets of Seville, however, appear slim.
Last week, the Paris-born 22-year-old admitted he “may have to move” to take his game to the next level, with Arsenal joining every Premier League giant worth their salt in the race for his signature (Athletic).
“Arsenal need some sort of leader, don’t they?” former England international Heskey said when asked about the Gunners’ interest in a defender who plays with a maturity and confidence far beyond his tender age.
“If you look at Arsenal over the years, they’ve always had a centre-back who was powerful, aggressive. A leader bellowing information out, taking information in, really controlling things from the back. They’ve lost that to be honest.
Could Kounde be Arsenal’s new Tony Adams?
“If they can get someone who can get them back on that path, that would be fantastic.
“One of the main things about Arsenal, as far back as the Tony Adams days, is they’ve always had centre-backs who have been leaders, the mainstay of their team, and that has allowed their forwards to express themselves.”
The question is, would Kounde consider swapping Champions League Sevilla for an Arsenal side that missed out on European football for the first time in 25 years?
A £50 million price tag represents another sizeable obstacle, with Mikel Arteta expected to be operating on a restricted budget in the summer transfer window.
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