Since joining Sunderland for a fee of around £5million in January, Lamine Kone has been a rock in the heart of the Black Cats defence. His partnership alongside the experienced Younes Kaboul has seen the pair flourish, putting on several outstanding displays at the end of last season. Kone played his part in the game against Everton at the Stadium of Light, scoring two goals that kept his team safe from relegation.
With the new Premier League season beginning in less than five days, Kone has now been linked with a move to Everton. Black Cats fans are in dismay at the news of the player's possible departure and are crying out for the club to give the centre-back a new and improved contract to secure his services for seasons to come.
Lack of ambition?
Fans are questioning chairman Ellis Short’s ambition to move Sunderland forward and whether or not he wants anything more than to remain as the team who just beat relegation each year. The arrival of David Moyes gave the city of Sunderland a real lift, but rumours are now circulating that the club’s finances are in a poor state. The question on fan’s lips is; where has last season’s TV money gone? Many say the club has cleared debt with the intake and many wonder whether or not Short has the purse strings tied shut. The clear out of fringe players including Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham and Emanuele Giaccherini, all on big wages, makes it hard to believe that the Black Cats wouldn't have the money to offer Lamine Kone an improved contract. The 27-year-old seems to be reasonably happy on Wearside, always vocal and interacting with fans on social media, and his departure would leave a sour taste in the mouths of Black Cats supporters.
Manchester United youngsters Paddy McNair and Donald Love have both been heavily linked to become Moyes’ second and third signings of the window, but the lack of experience in the pair would suggest they couldn’t go straight into the first team. McNair has more experience between the two and fans seem open to him coming to Sunderland, but Love lacks experience in the Premier League, making just seven appearances for Manchester United. The Black Cats’ only signing of the summer is Papy Djilobodji who signed last weekend and is the likely candidate to start the season alongside Younes Kaboul if Kone does depart.
Important to get off to a good start
The importance of starting the new campaign well has previously been highlighted by Sam Allardyce before he left to become England manager, and the unrest within the Sunderland camp this week can only be a hindrance to picking up as many points as possible from their opening games.
If the Black Cats and their chairman want to show some ambition for their fans, the club will stand as firm as possible to keep Kone, as well as making other signings in significant area’s before the end of the transfer window at the end of August.