Cologne duo Sebastiaan Bornauw and Ellyes Skhiri have handed in transfer requests as the Crystal Palace and West Ham United targets look to leave the Bundesliga outfit, as reported by BILD.
While new manager Steffen Baumgart was delighted to secure the services of Germany U21 international Salih Ozcan for another season – the midfielder signed a new contract to ward off interest from Rangers last week – the coach’s good mood didn’t last long.
The new Bundesliga season is just five weeks away and a Cologne side that only staved off the threat of relegation via a play-off victory over Holstein Kiel now faces the prospect of losing three key players before the end of August.
It’s no secret the Belgium international has his heart set on a new adventure – he admitted in June he’d be “crazy” to turn down a move – and a transfer request may have the desired effect of forcing Cologne’s hand.
BILD believes the Cathedral City side may be forced to accept about £12 million, with 6ft 1in Tunisian Skhiri expected to leave for a similar fee.
Could Bornauw and Ellyes Skhiri head for Crystal Palace or West Ham?
West Ham are big fans of Skhiri, a rangy midfielder in the Tomas Soucek mould and a major threat at set-pieces. He scored two headers as Cologne stunned Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park before Christmas.
Turbo-charged left-winger Ismael Jakobs is the third member of Baumgart’s squad to submit a transfer request this week, with Leicester City long-time admirers of the Cologne-born 19-year-old (the Daily Mail).
French giants Monaco have been negotiating a deal for Jakobs, although it’s understood they can’t afford to trigger the £11 million release clause in his contract.