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Page last updated at 18:33 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 19:33 UK

Kone under pressure at Sevilla

By Phil Minshull
BBC Sport, Spain

Sevilla and Ivory Coast striker Arouna Kone
Kone has struggled to adapt to La Liga

Ivory Coast international Arouna Kone has dismissed all talk of wanting to leave Sevilla.

Recent rumours suggest that he will be shown the door in the summer.

Kone admitted that this season has been a struggle.

"It has been a difficult year for me," the 24-year-old striker said.

"I have played very little and I recognise now that it hasn't been easy for me to adapt to life here but I think next season will be better.

"I will have stronger relationships with my team mates and be used to life in Spanish football."

Kone has only started six league games this season.

His way to a regular place at Sevilla has been blocked by the prodigious goal scoring feats of their Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano and Mali's CAF African Player of the Year Fredi Kanoute.

"Luis and Fredi have been playing so well this season that it's been difficult to get chances to play but next season I hope to have more opportunities," added Kone, whose brother Bakari also plays for The Elephants.

Kone started in one of Ivory Coast's group games in their recent African Cup of Nations campaign.

He also came on as a second-half substitute in their quarter and semi-final matches.

He was Sevilla's most expensive off-season signing last summer, costing 12 million euros from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.

Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido has not hesitated in reminding Kone that he has yet to live up to his price tag at his new club.

"Why haven't you been playing this season like you did at PSV?" Del Nido asked Kone when he accosted him on the training pitch recently, a tense encounter caught by Spanish TV cameras.

Del Nido has warned that several of Sevilla's first team squad will have to be sold in the summer to ease the wage bill if they do not qualify again for the Champions League.

Sevilla were surprisingly ousted by Turkish side Fenerbahce in the last 16 of this season's competition, earning less than was expected.

Sevilla are currently sixth in La Liga with only the top four qualifying for next season's Champions League.

"I want to see out my five year deal," added Kone.

"All the information (about rumours of a move to Italian side Roma) is false. I just went there recently to see my brother."

see also
Arouna Kone signs for Sevilla
31 Aug 07 |  African
African duo in Dutch title win
29 Apr 07 |  African

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