According to Fabrizio Romano, Borussia Monchengladbach are ‘one step away’ from beating Manchester United and Leeds United to the signing of Kouadio Kone from Toulouse.
The Red Devils have been reportedly eyeing up a move for Kone, whose contract with Toulouse is set to expire in 2022, and it seems the French Ligue 2 side are open to offloading him for the right price in the January transfer window.
The 19-year-old has provided two goals in 34 appearances across all competitions for Patrice Garande’s side, via Transfermarkt.
Romano has subsequently revealed that Gladbach have edged in front of United in the race to sign Kone, so it is the final chance for Ed Woodward to secure his services before he is bought by the Bundesliga outfit.
Despite having two years left on his contract, the Frenchman could be the perfect replacement for Paul Pogba for the Red Devils with an eye on the future. Toulouse are holding out for at least €15m (£13m) for the uncapped France U19 international.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be looking for a player who can fill the void as Pogba, ever the maverick midfielder, could well be on his way out of Old Trafford as it appears his time in the Premier League could be coming to a premature end.
Having spent the entirety of his professional career with Les Violets, a move to England would be a dramatic change of scenery for the teenager. However, we see no reason why he wouldn’t be able to adapt to the rigours of playing in the Premier League, as he has even drawn comparisons with his countryman via TuttoMercatoWeb.
Last year his agent Johan Chrétien spoke of his client’s desire to play in the Champions League. He said, as quoted by Footmercato, “Manu is part of the French top 5 (born in) 2001, and number 1 in his post. Like all the talents of his generation, it is natural that Manu is followed by the best European clubs. Manu is destined to play in the best European leagues/ Today, he is in his training club and is giving everything to progress.”
Kone has been in fine form for Toulouse this season, scoring one goal in 17 starts in the French second division, while WhoScored lists his strong concentration and ability to intercept the ball as some of his key strengths, which suggests that he should be able to hit the ground running and still has plenty of time to improve at the age of 19.
After all, he has already proven he can play at a consistent level on a regular basis at a decent level of the game.
However, with Gladbach now leading the race, Woodward will need to get his act together and move swiftly in the transfer window as the German giants close in on a deal to sign Kone from Toulouse.