Sunderland defender Lamine Kone has slapped in a transfer request – as his move to Everton looks certain to go through.
Kone released a statement this evening, spelling out his desire to leave the Black Cats and revealing that the lack of a new contract offer was the main reason for his decision.
Everton have been strongly linked with an £18million swoop for the centre-back, who became a cult hero after joining from Lorient in January and playing a key role in helping Sunderland stay in the Premier League.
Kone’s statement read: “After a week in which there has been a vast amount of speculation with regard to my future at Sunderland Football Club, I think that it is only fair to the fans of the club to clarify the situation.
“At the end of last season, I was told by the club that I would be offered a new contract.
“Following numerous phone conversations and face to face meetings, the latest of which took place today with David Moyes and Martin Bain, no contract has been forthcoming.
“It is therefore with much regret that I can only assume that I do not figure in David Moyes’ future plans.
“With that being the case, it is with much sadness that I have asked the manager and the chief executive to be allowed to leave Sunderland Football Club.
“However, until that time I give my word that I will give my upmost (sic) in training and on the field.”
Fans reacted with dismay on Twitter.
@Luke_hall1125: Very annoyed with @LamineKone_23 3.5years left on a contract. Can’t just go demanding new ones. Sell him and move on
@Anthony_Bulmer: Now we know why it kept falling through in January. Greed
@charlsafc: Everton getting an unbelievably good centre back. But give us the £18m and we’ll go again
@_Michael_Bird_: sod it, sod off Kone
@RobSinclair99: I’m absolutely heartbroken here. Feels like I’ve been cheated on.
@NickL_1989: ‘He loves the club’.. Sure he does
@Bradley_Safc: sick of it man. Barely any loyalty lies in football anymore.
@alexecarlton: So basically they dicked him about, made false promises, he helped save the club then SAFC went back on their word. Classy as always
@tjswin82: Struggling to understand how the club are to blame in anyway for this Kone situation. He signed a 4 year deal 15 games ago!
@johne113: Yeah Kone you can go.....but it’ll cost whoever wants to buy you £45m