Younes Kaboul is looking to build on his strong partnership with in-demand Lamine Kone – though the pair now face increased competition at the back.
Kaboul and Kone’s partnership was a key factor in Sunderland’s Premier League survival last season.
And Kone’s form since arriving for £5million from Lorient, has resulted in firm interest in him from Everton.
His defensive partner isn’t surprised there is interest ahead of the Premier League opener at Manchester City.
“It is normal,” Kaboul told the Echo. “He is a very good defender and when you look on the market there are not that many and he is performing well since arriving in January.
“You know, for him, he just has to carry on this way, going further and further.
“He is a top guy and a top defender.”
Kone and Kaboul are expected to start the season in central defence but they face added competition after Moyes secured his first signing – £8million Papy Djilobodji from Chelsea.
Kaboul is confident further new signings will follow as Sunderland look to move away from being a club that flirts with relegation every season.
“The reason why we stayed in the Premier League is because of everyone at the club,” Kaboul said when asked about his partnership with Kone.
“Now that is in the past, now we have to build something new with that and that is what we train to do.”
When asked how many new signings were needed, Kaboul added: “This is not in my hands! I am sure the club are working hard to bring in some players.
“We have another week [before the season] and the transfer window is not finished for a few weeks so we will see what happens.”
Kaboul played the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund last night, the final game of pre-season. “The team is ready, we have worked really hard during the pre-season,” he added.
“We had some tough moments against a tough side but have another week to work hard in training and to be ready for D-Day.
“We know that we are a bit restricted in terms of numbers but we work hard and the most important thing is to be ready for the game against Man City.”