Reputable French news outlet L’Equipe are reporting this morning that Ligue 1 side Strasbourg will not take up their option to purchase Lamine Kone from Sunderland.
The 30-year old Ivory Coast defender has played and started in virtually every game for Le Racing, who have also qualified to play in next season’s Europa League after winning the Coupe de la Ligue at the end of last month - a game which Kone was a part of.
Whilst it’s not quite known what the agreed price between the two clubs is, it’s understood that Strasbourg would instead prefer to take advantage of Sunderland’s situation, knowing we’re unlikely to be able to afford to take him back on his massive Premier League wages.
Even if the fee agreed is nominal, knowing Sunderland don’t want to take the player back on the money he’d command means they’re in a relatively strong position from a negotiation perspective.
Strasbourg’s stance may well change as time progresses, but it does seem unlikely that they don’t want what is an experienced player who has done well by them this season and has played with regularity as they’ve enjoyed what has been a successful, improved campaign with Kone at the heart of the defence.
Another transfer saga on the horizon, then...