Niels Nkounkou says he will push to leave Saint-Étienne after Eintracht Frankfurt move was blocked

In an interview published in today’s L’Équipe, Saint-Étienne left-back Niels Nkounkou has spoken at length about his desire to leave Les Verts, just months after his loan deal from Everton was made permanent.

The French youth international notably criticises the club for preventing his transfer to Eintracht Frankfurt, after the Bundesliga side had expressed an interest in signing him from the Ligue 2 outfit earlier this month.

Nkounkou explains that it was agreed upon with the club’s management that he would only be joining on a six-month loan deal, but Everton insisted on including a permanent clause in the contract. The full-back says he was surprised to hear in April that the clause had been triggered, but decided to focus on playing out the rest of the season first.

He would score six goals and set up another eight as the ten-time Ligue 1 champions bounced back from a nightmare start to life in the second division, to finish midtable. He was named in the league-wide team of the season at the end of the year.

“I was professional all the way up to the end of the season. I gave 100% to save the club and get myself back on track, but, again, I was only coming for six months, that’s it. It’s on that basis that I was signed. I wasn’t told about anything else when I signed my contract.”

Nkounkou explains that a sale would be a win-win situation for everyone, seeing as he would bring in a large transfer fee after helping the club to stay up – “I never lied to anyone”.

“If I have to say every day that I want to leave, that’s what I’ll do. I won’t give up. To be keeping a player against their will, I don’t think that’s the best solution.”

GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin

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