Why Leeds should not indulge in a January battle with AC Milan for Kouadio Kone
According to Tuttomercatoweb (h/t Leeds Live), Leeds United have retained an interest in Kouadio Kone but face a tussle with AC Milan. It is being said that both Bielsa and Victor Orta have been long time admirers of the youngster and want to bring him to the club. A January transfer battle could take place for the youngster’s signature.
Born in Colombes, France, Kouadio Kone started his footballing education in the youth ranks of Paris FC before joining lower-division outfit AC de Boulogne-Billancourt. He eventually joined Toulouse in 2016 and was promoted to the club’s B side after impressing for the U-19s.
The 19-year-old made his senior professional debut for Toulouse in a 2-1 defeat against Dijon in Ligue 1 towards the back end of the 2018-19 campaign. Kone, who has also represented France at U-18 and U-19 levels, made 13 league appearances last term as Toulouse were relegated from the top-flight.
Kone has made a bright start to the 2020-21 Ligue 2 campaign, having started 13 of his team’s first 17 league fixtures in the second-tier so far. He is currently a part of the France U-19 squad.
Leeds can pass up on Kone
Leeds United have cover for regular starters Mateusz Klich, Pablo Hernandez and Kalvin Phillips in the central areas of the pitch. Adam Forshaw, who is currently on the comeback trail from a long-term injury, and youngsters Jamie Shackleton, Tyler Roberts, Robbie Gotts, and Mateusz Bogusz, are the options available at Marcelo Bielsa’s disposal.
Hence, with so many exciting prospects already trying to make a name for themselves in the Premier League, the Whites need to look for some readymade midfield reinforcements in the market before the deadline next month.
In other words, they need players who can make an immediate impact rather than more new signings with an eye on the future. Kouadio Kone, unfortunately, falls in the latter bracket, having made only 34 senior appearances in his career so far.
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Moreover, it would be a massive gamble for Leeds to match Toulouse’s €15m asking price for the French starlet, who remains completely unproven at the highest level. Despite his talent and potential, there are no guarantees that he would be able to make the grade in English football.
It would perhaps have made sense to argue in favour of Leeds’ interest in Kouadio Kone had he been available on the cheap. But with finances tight in the post-pandemic market, the Whites simply can’t afford to pay truckloads of money for an unproven teenager.