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Sunday 22 April 2018

Lamine Kone set to train with Sunderland on Wednesday amid speculation

Sunderland defender Lamine Kone is due back in training on Wednesday amid speculation over his future
Sunderland defender Lamine Kone is due back in training on Wednesday amid speculation over his future

Lamine Kone will report for training with Sunderland on Wednesday amid fevered speculation over his future.

Kone's agent, Mark McKay has confirmed the 27-year-old, who is understood to have been on Merseyside with a view to completing an £18million move to Everton after failing to receive a new contract offer he was expecting, will re-join his team-mates on Wearside following a scheduled day off.

McKay said: "Lamine Kone will be at training with Sunderland tomorrow and is available, if selected, for Sunderland's game with Manchester City [on Saturday].

"However, he still awaits the offer of the new contract."

Kone's situation was brought into sharp focus by John Stones' departure from Everton to Manchester City in a British record £47.5million transfer for a defender on Tuesday, and the Toffees are understood to have agreed a fee with Swansea for Ashley Williams.

However, they have been in touch with the Black Cats over Kone and are aware what they would have to pay to land the Ivory Coast international, although as yet, there is no formal deal in place.

The Paris-born defender has been a major hit on Wearside since his £6million switch from French club Lorient in January, playing a key role in Sam Allardyce's rescue mission as Sunderland managed to stave off relegation from the Premier League for a fourth successive season.

It is understood discussions took place over an improved contract with Kone happy at the club, but the new deal has subsequently failed to materialise and with Allardyce having now departed to take up the England job and been replaced by David Moyes, the situation remains unresolved.

Everton had taken advantage of that uncertainty by making their interest known, but they have as yet not pushed that home and it is understood several other potential buyers, alerted to the player's possible availability, are now monitoring his situation closely.

The club's fans desperate for him to stay despite the £8million capture of Chelsea's Papy Djilobodji and it remains to be seen whether or not Sunderland can - or want to - broker a deal to keep him.

Moyes is unlikely to sanction any sale, even for a huge profit, until a replacement has been signed, and the Black Cats were keeping their own counsel on Tuesday evening on reports that they have agreed a £5.5million joint fee with the Scot's former employers Manchester United for youngsters Paddy McNair and Donald Love.

Press Association

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