Marcelo Bielsa told Leeds United to try to sign Kouadio Kone from Toulouse but the Premier League outfit were outmuscled by AC Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach, as reported by Corriere dello Sport.
The West Yorkshire Whites are back in the big time but may have a way to go before they can sign a player who counts the Serie A leaders among his admirers.
Reports in Italy claim Bielsa told Leeds’ chiefs in November to try to land one of the most exciting young midfielders in French football.
It soon became apparent, however, Kone wouldn’t be joining Rodrigo Moreno, Raphinha and Diego Llorente at Elland Road.
Leeds made contact with the 19-year-old but, faced with competition from Monchengladbach and Milan, had to tell Bielsa the mission had failed.
There’s no shame in that, of course.
After all, AC Milan weren’t the only table-topping European giant keen to sign the technically gifted, box-to-box midfielder.
La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid also held talks, as did Borussia Dortmund.
But, according to Le10 Sport, Monchengladbach have tied up a £9 million, five-year deal. Kone will return to Toulouse on loan until the summer as part of the agreement.