Sunderland handed financial boost as big-earner Lamine Kone seals permanent exit
Lamine Kone has sealed a permanent exit from Sunderland - joining French side Strasbourg after a successful loan spell.
The defender, who joined the Black Cats in 2016, has joined the Ligue 1 side for an undisclosed fee.
Kone was signed by then-manager Sam Allardyce as the Black Cats battled against relegation from the top flight, with the centre back and fellow recruit Wahbi Khazri having a strong impact as Sunderland staved off the threat of relegation.
But having shunned interest from Everton to stay at the Stadium of Light, the Ivorian was part of the side that suffered back-to-back relegations.
He left the club in the summer having made it clear he did not intend to play third-tier football, and joined Strasbourg on a season-long loan.
However, he stated he had no regrets about joining Sunderland - even if things didn't turn out as planned.
Asked whether it was necessary to leave the Black Cats at the time of his temporary departure, the defender told media in France last: "Yes, of course.
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"Honestly, I am worth more than the Division Three. This would have been a regression.
“Two consecutive relegations is rare for a footballer or a club. So it’s hard to digest that.
"The damage is done. It’s the past. But I do not regret this passage, even if it ended badly.”
Kone made 31 appearances for the French outfit, who were keen to make his deal a permanent one - although there were doubts as to whether the Ligue 1 side could afford his wages.
But a deal has now been struck, in what will be a financial boost to the Black Cats who will not have to worry about shifting another big earner off the wage bill this summer.
Kone's move will be made official when the French transfer window opens on 11th June.