Sunderland boss David Moyes standing firm as defender Lamine Kone seeks exit
Sunderland boss David Moyes has refused to back down in a stand-off with Lamine Kone as the defender attempts to force through a move to Everton.
Moyes was less than impressed to learn that the Ivory Coast international had issued a statement on Thursday night saying he had asked to leave the club following, in his opinion, unproductive talks with the manager and chief executive Martin Bain over an improved contract.
The Scot said on Friday that the club would honour a promise made to the player last season, but not until after the transfer window has closed as the Black Cats attempt to re-build their squad.
Moyes, who also revealed he had spoken to Everton chairman Bill Kenwright on the Toffees' pursuit of 27-year-old Kone, said: "We will honour something that was said to him regarding a new contract if we stayed up.
"But because we are in the middle of the transfer window, we have said, 'Look, can we get our business done? I'm only in the door two weeks, Martin's only in the door a couple of weeks, can we wait and can we do it on September 1?'.
"We have had an offer from Everton, I have had some private conversations with Bill Kenwright. None of them are for the media or for anybody else, but there seems to be an awful lot of talk going on elsewhere about it.
"We have told the boy, 'There will be a contract there for you. If that's what's been said, we'll honour what's been said, but if you don't mind, can you give us a little bit of time to get our feet under the table and because you have a four-year contract and you have only served six months of it, we don't think it would be too bad just to wait a few weeks, if you don't mind'."
Moyes, who was also unhappy that Kone had apparently been on Merseyside earlier in the week, admitted he now has a decision to make over the former Lorient player's participation in the club's opening Premier League fixture at Manchester City on Saturday evening.
He said: "He's a big part of it, he's a big player here. He was definitely in my team tomorrow, but I have got a decision to make because of what he has come out and said. He will be fined for what he has said as well."
One man who will almost certainly play some part at the Etihad Stadium is midfielder Adnan Januzaj, who completed a season-long loan move from Manchester United on Friday afternoon.
The 21-year-old was given his senior debut for United by Moyes, but has rather slipped off the radar since the Scot's departure from Old Trafford, and that is something the Sunderland boss will attempt to address as a matter of urgency.
He said: "It's a big boost because it's the level of quality I would like to bring here, and I am going to try to get him back to the levels he was certainly a couple of years ago.
"Adnan has to now look at himself a little bit and realise that it's down to him now to change it. Yes, he's coming in to a manager who trusts him and believes in him, but he's got to be the one who shows why for the last two years he's not really featured.
"But this boy can play two or three different positions, he's got an ability to go past people, score goals, make goals and he also gives me another young player."
Meanwhile, Moyes confirmed that midfielder Sebastian Larsson could be out for up to six months after undergoing surgery to repair knee ligament damage.