It seems that Chief Scout Graham Carr has been doing his scouting work in France again with reports that Newcastle are interested in signing 6’2″ center-back Lamine Kone of Lorient next month – according to the Mail.
Kone is a bit old for the usual player we tend to sign and he will turn 27 in February and of course he has no experience at all of the Premier League.
Lamine has played once for the Ivory Coast although he was born in Paris and played for all the French youth sides through U20 level.
Lorient center-back Lamine Kone
He has been in good form for his French club this year with 16 appearances and he joined them back in 2010 from Chateauroux and has so far played 135 times with 7 goals and he picked up his first cap for the Ivory Coast last year.
Sunderland, Norwich and Swansea are also credited with an interest in the player who has a contract that still has 18 months to run and the report suggests he would cost £5M.
Last month Kone’s representative, Mark McKay of Excel Foot, confirmed that the defender would be keen on a move to the Premier League – as he said this to ESPN FC:
“There is mounting interest in Lamine and a number of Premier League clubs have been watching him for some time now,”
“I believe several sides are set to watch him in action when Lorient play Paris Saint-Germain in the first game after the international break.”
“Lamine is fast, strong and athletic and would be ideally suited to the style of play in the Premier League.”
The Mail report today is that both Swansea and Newcastle are readying bids for the Frenchman next month – but with so many Frenchman already at Newcastle we probably have a decent chance of getting him.
Sunderland have also been very closely linked with a real interest in the player and L’Equipe reported yesterday that Sunderland very close to an agreement to sign Kone next month – so Newcastle and Lee Charnley had better move quickly.
It’s not clear whether that agreement with Sunderland was only with Lorient on the fee or also with the player on personal terms.
An alternative to Kone is 24 year-old Joel Matip at Schalke and since his contract runs out in June he would be available for about the same fee next month.
But it seems Newcastle are going after Kone who would want less wages than Matip, who has played 26 times for Cameroon.
But Kone could also turn out to be good signing for us and while he usually plays at center-back he can also play at right-back.
In fact reports in France are that he is already one of the best center-backs in Ligue 1.
What do you think?