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SCOUT REPORT: Lamine Kone

Who is Lamine Kone? Yesterday French newspaper L'Equipe claimed that the French defender had all but signed for Sunderland ahead of the January transfer window.

Before reading ahead, make sure you catch up with Andy's news story from yesterday. All the bits and bobs you need to know regarding the news are all in there.

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Full Name

Lamine Koné

Date & Place of Birth

Lamine was born on the first of February 1988 in Paris, France.

Playing History

At the age of fifteen Koné joined LB Châteauroux. Towards the end of the 2006-2007 season he made his professional debut for the club in a league fixture against Montpellier, becoming a first team regular until he was sold to current club FC Lorient for one million euros in July 2010, signing a four year deal. After signing an extension to his deal in 2013 Koné is now entering the last eighteen months of his contract at the Ligue 1 side which could see him leave in the upcoming January window for a relatively low fee.

Having played for France at under 17s, 18s, 19s and 20s Kone elected to play for the Ivory Coast at senior level and made his international debut in an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Cameroon in 2014.

Physically, what is he like?

Lamine is six foot two and is built like a brick shit house. I mean, look at him.

Kone

In France Koné is known for his physical prowess and his ability to bully opposition forwards in the air.

What position does he play?

Koné is primarily a central defender but during his time at Lorient he has often covered at right back when needed.

How has he fared this season?

Koné has racked up an impressive 1281 minutes on the pitch for his club this season, with Lorient currently sat eighth in the table. Although they lost 3-0 away to Lille on Saturday in the league they defeated second division side Dijon 3-0 in the cup on Tuesday night. Koné's side have struggled to keep clean sheets this season in the league, keeping just three from a possible eighteen games.

Where would he fit in Sam Allardyce's Sunderland side?

If we are to persist with five at the back it's imperative that we recruit in defence. In recent weeks we've had injuries to Younes Kaboul which has left us having to play Billy Jones in a position which does not suit him. This weekend, for example, Sebastian Coates is expected to be missing despite Kaboul's return to the side, meaning Allardyce may well be forced into playing with four at the back due to his lack of options.

Injury & Suspension history

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What has been said?

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Yesterday we covered the news that Kone had been linked to the club - read it here.

The Daily Mail are also reporting that Swansea and Newcastle are interested in the 'highly rated defender', claiming that the player is available for around five million pounds.

Video footage

Below are a selection of highlights of the player from when he played for Châteauroux.

Conclusion

Big Sam's history with French-Africans is fairly good and it's a market he seems to know well. Having signed the likes of Abdoulaye Faye, Diafra Sakho, Alex Song, Mo Diame and Cheikhou Kouyaté in the past he was linked to the signing of Kone last year when manager of West Ham United but nothing ever came of it.

That said, Koné looks the sort of defender we are lacking. He's aggressive and strong - like Younes Kaboul, perhaps - and if the fee is fairly low it would make sense to bring him to the club and integrate him as part of the newly adopted five-at-the-back system Allardyce seems so keen to employ if we are to stave off relegation for another year.

The risk, as ever, is that he'd be coming in from a much less physically demanding and difficult league and we've seen the likes of Modibo Diakite and Valentin Roberge in recent years join the club with similar backgrounds and struggle with the standard of the division.

For me, it's a yes. I don't believe he'll be the only centre half we'll bring in and it's a position we definitely could do with strengthening.