Speculation surrounding Everton target Lamine Kone won’t go away despite offer of new deal

Lamine Kone in action against Hartlepool in pre-season
Lamine Kone in action against Hartlepool in pre-season
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David Moyes fears that speculation surrounding Lamine Kone’s future will drag on for the rest of the transfer window – despite Sunderland confirming they will give him a new deal.

Kone slapped in a transfer request and released a statement late on Thursday night saying he wanted a move over claims the club hadn’t offered him a promised new deal.

But Sunderland have put the ball firmly back in the court of Kone and his representatives after Moyes revealed that the club will honour a verbal promise made by the previous regime.

The new contract won’t be handed out until September 1, the day after the transfer window closes, with Moyes telling the Echo that recruitment is the club’s current priority.

Moyes, who confirmed that he will fine Kone for his comments, said it is not unreasonable for the 27-year-old to wait seeing as though he has four years remaining on a deal he signed in January.

Kone is the subject of an £18million bid from Premier League rivals Everton.

When asked whether he feared the saga would run on for the rest of the transfer window, Moyes told the Echo: “Yeah.

“At the moment, I don’t think we have been unreasonable, we don’t necessarily see the big rush.

“We do accept that some day, somewhere along the line someone has said something to you and we will honour that.

“We definitely will do. I hope most people understand the reasons why.

“We are trying to get some players in and change things around a little bit and, because of that, we are just not quite ready to deal.”

Moyes was due to make a late decision over whether to play the Ivory Coast international against Manchester City tonight (kick-off 5.30pm).

Reflecting on the past 24 hours, Moyes said: “We spoke with him and he has a four-year contract and has served six months of that.

“We spoke with him (on Thursday) night at length – and we had already relayed that to him a week ago – that on September 1 we would give him a new contract.

“Both (chief executive) Martin Bain and myself have only been in the door two weeks. We are trying to add to the squad.

“We have talked about the injuries and how we are trying to do business. Can we do it on September 1? And we have told him that.

“But for some reason that hasn’t seemed to have been accepted – they won’t listen to that.

“We have got an offer from Everton and we have told them that as well.

“We are happy to continue negotiations but on the first of September, we feel that would be right.

“He has a four-year contract. it is not as if we are desperate. But by all understandings there was something said to him about a new contract if they stayed up.

“It isn’t on paper, it was just a verbal. We are happy to honour it and have relayed it to them.

“It is disappointing that the day before the game the player comes out and does this.

“I’m not too sure if it is Lammy doing this, but he has put his name to it.”

Kone was pictured on Merseyside on Monday night, with Moyes expressing his surprise that the defender had travelled to the North West given the Everton offer hadn’t been accepted.

Moyes added: “I was surprised he turned up in Liverpool in midweek – he was never given permission by us. We have not accepted any offer.

“From that point of view, that is disappointing.

“If you support Sunderland, you have to look at it and say we want people who are going to be committed and he is, he is a really good boy.

“I have found him really good to work with, he smiles everyday and did a great job last year.

“That is why we are saying ‘even though you have a four-year contract and came six months ago, we will look after you on September 1’.

“We don’t think that is too unreasonable to ask.”

Moyes accepts that the drama has overshadowed the build-up to the City game, adding: “It is disappointing the day before the start of a season we are talking about this.

“I have a few injuries, we have some new players in, exciting young players who will make a difference in the future and they will all probably have to take part.

“The last thing they need is a manager whose focus is on something else.”