It was suggested by L’Equipe towards the end of April, and it appears to have been confirmed by Sportmania in Ivory Coast: Lamine Koné will be returning to Sunderland.

The Ivorian defender was sent on loan to Strasbourg for the 2018-19 season, where he has excelled with the French club, helping them to an impressive 10th spot after 35 games.

However, L’Equipe stated a few days ago the centre-back was ‘expected’ to return to the Stadium of Light, but no reason was given.

Sportmania, however, delved a little deeper, explaining that while Strasbourg really want to keep Lamine Koné, they simply cannot afford his wages going forward, which were partly paid by the Black Cats for the duration of his loan.

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Despite an option to buy being included in the original deal, Koné, who has scored three goals and delivered two assists in all competitions this season, will have to face another transfer window where his future will be up in the air.

Even if Sunderland do win the upcoming playoffs and find themselves in the Championship once again, we doubt the defender would agree to stay, meaning a move will need to be organised.