Simon Grayson insists Lamine Kone won’t leave Sunderland on the cheap – after calling him one of the best defenders in the Championship.
Kone continues to be widely expected to leave Wearside this summer, with Premier League interest in him in the shape of West Bromwich Albion and Burnley.
As yet there has been no bids for the 28-year-old, who produced a commanding performance in the 3-1 win over Norwich City.
Ahead of the trip to Sheffield Wednesday, boss Grayson heaped praise on Kone and once again admitted that the club - like every other - is vulnerable to losing their star players while the transfer window is open.
Experienced Grayson, though, insisted nobody will leave unless their valuation is met. “First and foremost he is a very good player,” said Grayson, when asked about Kone.
“When you have the quality he has, his physique, pace and power then there won’t be many better Championship defenders in this league than him.
“Who knows. We keep going back to we are vulnerable like every other club is, Neymar leaving Barcelona - nobody predicted that this window.
“All we’ve told every player is keep working hard and see where it takes us.
“If all the squad is with us come the end of the window then I won’t be too disappointed but who knows.”
Kone and Wahbi Khazri are among those players that were expected to be in-demand this summer.
Speaking generally, Grayson added: “If players want to leave the club then they are playing to get a move, if they are doing that then so be it as it will benefit us.
“Ultimately every player will have a price on their head and won’t leave without our valuation being met.
“We will just keep going with the games and once the window shuts you won’t be able to ask me these questions for a few months!”