Lamine Kone has admitted that he was “disappointed” when his summer switch from Sunderland to Everton fell through – but says that he has moved on to focus on the Black Cats.
The Toffees failed to land the centre-back, six months after he came to Wearside from French club Lorient and played a key role in keeping the club up last season.
In an exclusive interview with Foot Mercato, he discussed Everton’s interest, Sunderland’s decision to keep him, their valuation andhis newly-signed contract extension.
Kone, asked about the Red and Whites snubbing Everton’s offer, told Foot Mercato: “I am not holding a grudge. At the time, to tell you the truth I was disappointed because it was a very good opportunity for me.
“Everton, they are not a small club. There were other clubs interested too. But it was not concrete like Everton.
“It was a very good opportunity for me. A golden opportunity. They are playing for the top positions. They could be in Europe.
“So it was an interesting challenge for me. At the time, I was disappointed.
“Despite all of that, today I have dealt with it. It is forgotten. Now, I will continue to attempt to put in good performances.”
Everton’s interest intrigued the centre-back, who added: “In the end, it was a little bit difficult. But these are things in life that you have to deal with.
“It was a good opportunity for me to join this club Everton. They were interested in me and approached my representatives.
“But David Moyes and Sunderland were counting on me. The offers were rejected by my club. It is true that in this sense, I was disappointed.
“Maybe it was not my time. Things were put straight, I signed a new deal for an additional year here. In any case, I felt good at Sunderland. In the end, everything arranged itself.
“I am satisfied with this extension. Even if I had the opportunity to leave this summer, I have also said that I felt good at Sunderland.
“I wanted to come to England. They welcomed me well into the club. Everything went very well.
“But things don’t always go like that for a player. I am happy to have signed an extension.”
Kone admits that he expected the fee for a move to Everton to be much less than Sunderland required.
An £18million offer was rejected and Kone added: “I expected to be worth less, a fee of maybe 8 million, 10 million, maybe 12 million. Double the price that Sunderland paid to buy me from Lorient.
“I did not think that I was work more. More than 20 million Euros. The sums were impressive. But that is football today, football business.”