Whilst his teammates were thousands of miles away in America, last Thursday Newcastle midfielder Olivier Kemen was attempting to lead his country into the finals of the Under 19 European Championships.
Now though, the midfielder who turned 19 on Monday is reported by L’Equipe to be a target for AC Milan, with his agents said to have met the Serie A club for transfer talks already.
In those Under 19 European Championships, the French Captain sat out the opening 1-0 group win over Austria but then led his country to victories over both Ukraine (3-1) and Greece (2-0), ensuring qualification for the semi-finals with nine points out of nine.
A tight semi-final last against Spain saw Olivier Kemen play the full 90 minutes as he Captained the side once again, the Newcastle midfielder going close a couple of times to breaking the deadlock. Cruelly though, with only two minutes to go Spain scored the opening goal and then as France chased an equaliser, they added a second deep into injury time.
Despite exiting the tournament five days ago, it appears that Olivier Kemen wasn’t flown out to America to join the rest of the Newcastle squad and so celebrated his 19th birthday on Monday in Europe.
The midfielder was desperate to go out on loan last season and get experience at a higher level than reserve standard.
It was hoped that Newcastle would recruit enough decent players this summer, to ensure that the likes of Kemen and Adam Armstrong could go out for extensive loan periods.
Only then would it be possible to start to assess whether Kemen has any chance of making the step up eventually to Premier League level.
Whether he instead ends up in Italy on a permanent deal now remains to be seen.