Manchester United are reportedly closely monitoring the progress of the highly-rated Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde but they are reluctant to match his huge £68 million exit clause.

Kounde is one of the hottest centre-half prospects in European football and reports have stated he is at the top of the Red Devils’ summer wish list.

The 22-year-old ace was targeted by Manchester City last year, with an approach from Pep Guardiola’s team turned down by the La Liga side.

The Citizens turned their attention to landing Ruben Dias instead for £62m.

The Old Trafford side are also unwilling to match his full asking price, according to a report from the Daily Mail.

The club are wary of spending over the odds amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the club’s hierarchy will not sanction spending such a high figure on a central defender this summer.

United are hopeful that asking prices will soon drop to a more realistic figure, including that for Borussia Dortmund’s £100m-rated Jadon Sancho.

Sevilla sporting director Monchi admitted after the PL leaders’ offer for Kounde, who has netted three goals in 32 appearances this campaign, that the youngster’s asking price was inflated somewhat.

Elsewhere, Leicester City have allegedly joined West Ham United in the hunt to sign Jesse Lingard from Manchester United permanently.

The 28-year-old star has revived his career at West Ham since signing on loan from the Red Devils in January, scoring three goals in four top-flights outings.

West Ham are keen on retaining the services of Lingard for the long term, though the club do not have the right to purchase the player outright.

It remains to be seen whether United are ready to sell him, but Eurosport states that the Foxes may join the Irons in stepping forward with an offer.