Who is Jonathan Ikoné, the new French tightrope walker of Fiorentina

Raised in Paris, he made his PSG debut by forging ahead: at Lille he exploded, arriving in the national team. And Italy was his destiny.

It was fate that, sooner or later, the streets of Jonathan Ikoné and Serie A crossed. It happened in this winter transfer session, thanks to the 15 million that the Fiorentina will pay out to the Lillebut already in the past the French talent had been approached in a more or less convinced way to the clubs of the Italian league.

“There was an offer from Italy for Jonathan Ikoné worth 70 million euros”, revealed in 2019 the president of Lille Gerard Lopez, without however revealing where the almost indispensable proposal came from. It was the summer of Leao’s move to Milan and Pepé to Arsenal for a total of over 100 million collected, to which Osimhen’s 70 would be added the following year. Selling is an art and in the north of France they are specialists.

Digging even further back, the name of the new Fiorentina acquisition had even been linked to the Juventus. He was one of the most promising young players in PSG, he was heading for a renewal that seemed difficult. The bianconeri had tried to fit in. In the end, however, nothing more was done. No Coman-bis. His career developed differently in France. Until the decision to land in Florence.

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From Paris to Paris. Ikoné, born in 1998, was born in Bondy, near the Saint-Dénis district, on May 2nd. A couple of months later the Bleus would raise the first World Cup in their history to the sky. In the year of his second success, 20-year-old Ikoné was about to leave his hometown outright to move to Lille.

PSG has drawn it since Bondy, just 12 years old, and made him grow in his own ranks. The boy has always stood out as one of the most exciting prospects of his age for his talent and for a left foot with a quality out of the ordinary. He has completed the entire national youth team – among other things, in 2015 he had won the Under-17 European Championship as a protagonist – even reaching the debut with goals with the greatest, in the 4-1 against Albania in the qualifiers for Euro 2020. Taking over, ironically, a Coman. Of which he was considered a sort of ‘heir’.

When Deschamps’ call came, Ikoné was hitting the high points of his career with the Lille. He had finished the 2019/20 season with double-digit assists. He had spent the previous year and a half at Montpellier, a not very successful apprenticeship, at least in the assessments of the PSG. That after having armored him to avoid seeing him escape to Juventus, he had decided to lend him. And then sell it to Lille in 2018 for 5 million.

Coach Christophe Galtier he initially used him as an attacking midfielder of his 4-2-3-1, in a more central position, and then moved him very often to the right after the sale of Pepé and the transition to 4-4-2, in what has always been the his natural role and in which he was also used in the national team, in the 4 appearances he has collected so far. He starts from the right, returns to the left looking for dribbling.

Although he comes from a summer of disappointments at the national level, having missed Euro 2020 and having been eliminated prematurely at both the Euro Under-21 and the Tokyo Olympics, his year at the club level was a memorable one.

At Lille the enormous satisfaction of win Ligue 1 as a protagonist overcoming PSG, which had let him go three years earlier. Obviously, title won as a protagonist. And he also signed the qualification for the round of 16 Champions Leaguewith a overflowing performance against Wolfsburg in the decisive challenge: two assists on the scoresheet, two close goals, played to scream on his right wing. An unsolvable puzzle for the German defense.

At the end of the match (he was elected man of the match by UEFA) he had not spoken out about his future, he had limited himself to a “Now I’m here, then we’ll see”. His contract expiring in 2023 prompted Lille to accept Fiorentina’s offer. And from January Ikoné has been ready to turn the heads of Serie A full-backs.