Real Madrid Transfers: The 3 generational talents on the radar this year

PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Sevilla, Jules Kounde
Sevilla, Jules Kounde (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Sevilla CB Jules Kounde

Now I am sure there are going to be people surprised that there is even a third player in this discussion. For the most part, the focus is on Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland as the true generational talents. Briefly, last season, Eduardo Camavinga received major plaudits, but the 2020-2021 season has been a gentle reminder to cool the hype with the uber-talented Rennes center midfielder.

However, I do believe there is a third man, and it is none other than La Liga sensation Jules Kounde. He gets overlooked merely because of the position he plays. Center backs do not get the same credit as forwards. Just ask Pepe, who would have been more revered around the world during his time in Madrid if people cared more about appreciating the brilliance of defense.

Kounde is 22, but he already looks like he’s mastered the art of defending. Like Erling Haaland, we cannot pretend he is perfect. The same goes for Kylian Mbappe, though he is the more established of the trio.

That said, the learning curve for center backs is usually steeper than attackers. Look around at the landscape of European football. Which center backs under the age of 25 are as advanced as Kounde? We have not seen a center back this promising since perhaps Raphael Varane, who has certainly made a name for himself with Real Madrid in the past several years.

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Kounde will not be cheap. Defenders garner less on the transfer market, so Kounde’s list price may be half that of Mbappe and Haaland. But with an 80 million euro release clause, Kounde is a highly-priced asset at center back and someone who could be on his way to Real Madrid if Raphael Varane must be sold.