David Moyes says Sunderland will always come first – after clauses were inserted into Lamine Kone’s new deal to protect the club.
The centre-back this week signed a bumper new five-year deal to make him one of the club’s highest earners. The deal will see the 27-year-old Ivory Coast international remain on Wearside until 2021.
He played a big part last year and you can see that he is an important piece of what we want hereDAVID MOYES
Kone, who was the subject of an £18million bid from Everton in the summer, has been challenged to “step up” and become a leader for Sunderland after penning the new deal.
No details of any clauses included have been released.
But it is likely Sunderland have moved to ensure they secure the highest possible fee should rivals make a move for him in future, especially with Kone agreeing to an extra year on his deal.
“There are things in the contract,” said Moyes. “There were always things in the contract but there was nothing in the [last] contract about getting a new contract.
“But there was a promise to him, so we stuck to that.
“There are things in the contract, yes. That has looked after the club. The club will always come first like we said all along; it has to.”
The saga overshadowed Sunderland’s summer preparations after Everton lodged an £18million offer.
A statement was then put out in Kone’s name claiming he wanted a move after Sunderland had failed to offer him a promised new deal – a claim rejected by the club.
Sunderland said they would offer Kone a new deal once the window had closed but decided to offer it earlier.
Kone then complained of a bad back less than 24 hours after turning down the offer, which saw him miss two games. Kone returned for the games against Southampton and Everton.
Moyes is now challenging Kone to become a leader as Sunderland look to quickly turn around their season.
“It is good news that we have got him signed,” added Moyes. “He played a big part last year and you can see that he is an important piece of what we want here.
“But we now want him to step up again. He has moved onto a bigger contract so step up and show your reasons and show us why and become a really important player for us.
“We need that.”