Mali international 'turned down' chance to join Newcastle United

Mali international Youssouf Kone ‘turned down’ the chance to join Newcastle United in the summer.

Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 11:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 12:04 pm
Guingamp's French midfielder Marcus Coco (L) fights for the ball with Lille's Malian defender Youssouf Kone (R) during the French L1 football match between En Avant Guingamp and Lille LOSC at the Roudourou stadium in Guingamp, northwestern France, on February 10, 2019. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

The full-back claims he was offered a big financial package to swap France for St James’s Park this summer – but turned down the offer in order to move from Lille to Lyon.

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In an interview with OL-Mercato, Kone said: “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.”

United went on to sign both Jetro Willems and Emil Krafth before the closure of the summer window – with Willems making his full Magpies debut on Saturday.