David Moyes expects Lamine Kone to stay with Sunderland – and says he doesn’t plan to let anybody go who makes a big contribution to the team.
Kone is wanted by Everton, who last week lodged an unsuccessful £18million bid for the Ivory Coast international.
It led to a statement being put out in his name claiming Kone wanted a move after Sunderland had failed to offer him a promised new deal – a claim rejected by the club who will offer him a new deal on September 1.
Kone played in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City. Afterwards, Moyes revealed that the 27-year-old was surprised when he was shown the statement he had apparently made asking for a transfer and claimed he had not seen it.
Asked how he felt the situation would play out, Moyes said: “I am quite relaxed about it, to be fair. I have said we received an offer from Everton but also said we will give him a contract on September 1.
“Me and [chief executive] Martin Bain are just into the job, we are trying to add to the squad, the player has got a four year contract and has only been here six months. I don’t think it is outrageous to ask him to wait a couple of weeks just so we can concentrate on what we are trying to do right now.
“Things have been said that didn’t need to be. I have had private conversations with [Everton chairman] Bill Kenwright and they are private.
“The boy is very happy, he was surprised when I read him his statement,” added Moyes, who told reporters that he expected the defender to stay.
When pressed on whether Sunderland needed to replace Kone if he were to depart, Moyes said: “The big thing is, we are short of players, whether it be centre-halves or midfield players or full-backs, we are short. I won’t be letting anybody go who I think can contribute to the team. Kone is a big contribution to the team.
“If I think I can do things in other ways, I will think about it, but, at the moment, the market has made it really difficult to do that.”
He added: “Nobody will go until we say so. It will only be on our say so.
“If he stays, then we will honour what was said to him and give him a new contract.”
Moyes again confirmed he had not personally received a transfer request from Kone, saying: “I have had no transfer request. When I showed him the statement, he was very surprised.”