Boubakary Soumaré’s situation continues to be an issue in the French media.
On February 18th, we covered claims from France that Lille had been angered by the midfielder’s refusal to accept a move to Newcastle United in January.
It was claimed the Magpies offered €45m for the player, but he insisted he wanted to stay put until the summer, whereas Lille wanted to take the money.
This was given as the reason for Soumaré dropping down the pecking order at the Ligue 1 club, with it being seen as some kind of punishment.
A day later the situation was described as being ‘ironed out’, with the player even putting out a statement via the club’s website, explaining everything had been talked through and was fine.
February 19th saw another claim, and this time about Newcastle United specifically, with their interest said to remain valid, with the offer still standing.
Now Lille president Gerard Lopez has been quizzed on the situation, and is quoted by Foot Mercato as saying: “The controversy around Soumaré? There was a situation which already dated from October-November, but which was perhaps due to poor communication. He is a player we love very much and who for me is one of the best young people in Europe. So, we wanted to keep him with us.”
There’s not really much else Lopez could have said. Even if the original reports were true, he could hardly admit his club had tried to force a player out, and then punished him for refusing to go.