Lamine Koné News Blows Again
The apparent Lamine Koné media strategy is like nothing we have ever witnessed at Sunderland AFC.
After what appears to have been a carefully orchestrated campaign in the summer close season, the arrival of November and the looming January transfer window have agents at the ready for an engineered bidding war for the Sunderland defender.
In a week in which the Ivorian central defender has taken a kicking in the media thanks to the strong words of Jamie Carragher, something has reacted - and a few day's later, it's surely no coincidence that the Koné-away stories have begun again.
Today it's West Ham who are linked with Sunderland's centre-half. The Mirror reckon Slaven Bilic is monitoring Koné with a view to a January bid.
Is it a coincidence that Koné's only decent game in recent weeks happened to come at the Olympic Stadium, and now it's West Ham that he's off to? We doubt it.
However, if the reaction to the news on West Ham forum, Knees Up Mother Brown, is anything to go by, he might not be a popular choice:
Please not Kone from Sunderland. The guy is **** , he can't read the game, switches off and will be an absolute liability. Apart from these minor issues he'd be decent.
The world will be watching the Sunderland defender closely at Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium this weekend. The only time anything is as it seems in the mad world of Lamine Koné is when he's on the pitch.
Replacement Makes Sense
Various outlets have run the story that David Moyes will return to Dynamo Kiev for defender Domagoj Vida as a direct replacement for Lamine Koné in January.
Sunderland were linked with the Croatian international during the summer with reports suggesting that the asking price was anything from £5m to £10m. The fee required this time would probably be somewhere in the middle.
The right-footed defender has played 17 league games for Dynamo this season, scoring twice. Sunderland had a scout at the Champions League tie between Kiev and Benfica on Tuesday night.
Vida is under contract at Dynamo until the end of 2017. The story broke in the Sunderland Echo, so it may well be a bona fide one.
International Call Ups
Lamine Kone has been selected in the 24-man Ivory Coast squad for upcoming fixtures against Morocco and France.
The friendly with France is to be played on November 12th in Lens. No doubt in due course we'll be hearing that scouts from across Europe's elite clubs will be there to watch him.
Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore get the nod from current England Under-21 coach, Aidy Boothroyd for next week's games against Italy and France.
Pickford missed the last Young Lions matches against Kazakhstan and Bosnia & Herzegovina by virtue of being called into the senior squad.
Meanwhile, the newly christened 'enfant terrible' of African football, Sunderland's Didier Ibrahim Ndong, will learn if he is selected for Gabon at a press conference scheduled for Friday.
Some are speculating that the midfielder may be dropped as punishment for kicking a water bottle and throwing his shirt at a teammate having been substituted in his last international appearance.
There have been ongoing mutterings in Gabon that Ndong's frustration erupted at his continued selection in an attacking midfield role which he does not favour.
An attacking force Ndong most certainly is not. So far in his Sunderland career, he's averaged one shot every three games.
Coach Won't Be Drawn On M'Vila Future
Rubin Kazan coach, Javi Garcia, today refused to elaborate on speculation Yann M'Vila has been offered a new contract by the Russian club:
It is inappropriate to talk about the contract issues, but I can say that Yann - this is a very good player and he helps a team, is constantly growing.
The Frenchman, who was on loan at Sunderland last season, had been widely expected to return to the Stadium Of Light during the summer in a permanent deal. M'Vila is out of contract with Kazan in January.
David Moyes has previously suggested Sunderland have a pre-contract agreement with the 26-year old should he opt to leave Russia next month. News reports earlier in the week suggested Kazan have tabled an offer of a new deal.
'SWipes of the Day
David Moyes has taken his players to Nissan.
The state of it.