League One Sunderland sold Lamine Kone to Ligue 1 Strasbourg for just £1.3m last summer.
Yes Sunderland fans, that really was Lamine Kone performing miracles at the heart of Strasbourg’s back line at the Parc des Princes last weekend.
The Black Cats faithful would be forgiven for doing a double take so severe that it induced whiplash as a centre-back who slumped away from the Stadium of Light under the darkest of clouds threw his body on the line to keep Neymar, Angel Di Maria and co off the scoresheet. There was certainly no questioning Kone’s commitment in the French capital.
From famous to infamous
Somewhere in an alternative universe, Kone is a modern-day Sunderland legend. Not only did he save club from relegation in 2016 with two goals in a 3-0 thrashing of Everton, he also inadvertently relegated Newcastle United in the process.
Talk about making yourself an immediate cult hero.
But Kone eroded all that good feeling almost initially by trying and failing to publicly force a move to Everton before moping the pitch, a shadow of his former self and his head a million miles from his shoulders, as Sunderland went from the Premier League to League One in the space of one year.
By the time July 2019 rolled around, no one was shedding any tears when Kone was sold to Strasbourg for just £1.3 million, according to The Chronicle, his fans’ favourite status long forgotten.
Though if the 30-year-old wants to rebuild his reputation across the channel, a heroic individual performances against the runaway Ligue 1 champion isn’t a bad way to start off.
Kone made three and five clearances as Strasbourg stood firm – until the returning Neymar penned a script that even the most saccharine Hollywood producers would consider a little too clichéd.
The embattled Brazilian, booed throughout by the fans he toyed with all summer long, left Strasbourg heartbroken with a dazzling overhead kick in injury time.
Though you won’t find many Sunderland fans rushing to console Kone.