OL-Mercato have published some comments by Lyon left-back Youssouf Kone. The comments appear to confirm that Newcastle made an approach for the player this summer.
This is what Kone has said according to the French publication:
“OL made an approach, and I did not think for a single second. I said to myself, ‘I’ll go there.’ The project pleased me. I followed the French Championship when I was in Mali, and Lyon is a team that has always played football.
“If I had looked at the financial side, I would have gone to Newcastle, but I preferred to look at the sporting aspect.”
Kone is a product of the Lille academy. He had a severe knee injury while on loan at Reims in December of 2017 that wiped out the rest of that season and part of the following one. However, he was able to come back and became Lille’s starting left-back last season.
The 24-year-old was apparently in high demand this summer as the French report claims that Newcastle, Leicester, and Norwich were all after him. Per his comments, he chose to join Lyon this summer instead of moving to Newcastle, which would have been the better financial option for him. Lyon paid around £8.5m for the Malian international.
This report is fascinating because if it’s true, then Newcastle’s pursuit was under the radar. It would have also been one that was being worked on very early in the summer as Kone joined Lyon on July 3rd when Newcastle were without a manager.