FREE agent Richard Kone’s spell with Colchester United has ended – after the striker linked up with a Premier League club on trial.

But there is still a chance that the young forward could return to the U’s, as he looks to land a professional contract.

Kone has impressed at Colchester since linking up with them on trial in pre-season and featured in their friendlies against the likes of Spurs, Watford and Billericay Town.

However, he was not involved in the U’s 1-1 draw with Wealdstone at the JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday, their final pre-season friendly of the summer.

And Colchester boss Hayden Mullins confirmed that the former Athletic Newham forward has now joined up with a top-flight club, as he looks to land a permanent deal.

Mullins told the Gazette: “Richard is no longer with us - he’s gone on trial to a Premier League club.

“A number of clubs have shown interest in him and Richard and his representative have decided as they can as a free transfer to go and look elsewhere.

“They’ve decided that they want to go and have a look at a Premier League club, which is totally up to them.

“It’s not dead though; we’re still talking to them but he’s decided to go and try and pursue something else.”

Colchester had to settle for a draw with Wealdstone, after the clubs’ behind-closed-doors friendly was moved to the JobServe Community Stadium due to Covid issues.

Noah Chilvers gave the U’s an early lead but the National League outfit secured a draw, thanks to Josh Umerah’s late penalty.

Mullins added: “Wealdstone did us a real favour by agreeing to play us at our place, with no fans.

“For a club of their size to get some kind of gate in with fans before the season starts would have been good for them.

“So for them to agree to play us at our place, we thank them for that.

“It was just purely down to the Covid bits and pieces that we didn’t really want to risk anyone else going down with it.

“We’ve got enough room at the stadium where we can socially distance with the changing room and if we do get a case, it doesn’t really disrupt too many of them.

“At Wealdstone, the changing areas are really tight and if you go there with 20-odd players, there’s no room so if someone had gone down with something over the weekend, you run the risk of losing them for definitely the start of the season and a few more games after that.

“That was the danger so we’re thankful that they did that and we can now look forward to the new season.”