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Kone Hands In Transfer Request: Editorial Comment

The public nature of Lamine Kone and Sunderland AFC's issues reached a critical point tonight when the player submitted a transfer request to the club, stating his intention to leave due to his mistreatment by new manager David Moyes and lack of progress in resolving the issues that he has with his current contract.

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Before we go any further, here is what Kone's statement to Sky Sports said:

After a week in which there has been a vast amount of speculation with regard to my future at Sunderland Football Club, I think that it is only fair to the fans of the club to clarify the situation. At the end of last season I was told by the club that I would be offered a new contract.

Following numerous phone conversation and face-to-face meetings, the latest of which took place today with David Moyes and Martin Bain, no contract has been forthcoming. It is therefore with much regret that I can only assume that I do not figure in David Moyes' future plans.

With that being the case it is with much sadness that I have asked the manager and the chief executive to be allowed to leave Sunderland Football Club. However, until that time I give my word that I will give my utmost in training and on the field.

I'm having a hard time processing this.

Kone and his agent clearly feel that they have been mistreated here, and though the details aren't clear I'm going to assume that the agreement that they had was verbal, meaning that there is actually no legally binding agreement between ourselves and the player. If there was, this wouldn't have been drawn out in public.

Since Kone signed we have appointed a new chief executive and manager, and it's entirely possible that this 'agreement' was made under a new regime. It's pretty messy.

I initially sympathised with Kone as he's shown that he's one of our most important players and I suppose that would qualify him somewhat to be paid whatever a top player is worth. That said, you can't just drag the name of the club through the mud in public like they have and expect them to just give in to his demands.

We have three options.

Option 1 - We offer Kone the deal that he wants and move on from this as quickly as possible.

Option 2 - We agree to sell Kone to another club.

Option 3 - We remind the player and his agent that he is employed by Sunderland for at least another four years and that he will be made to see out the remainder of his deal.

To me, it doesn't matter which of those you choose, because they're all pretty rubbish.

If you choose option one then that is the club publicly admitting that they are weak - weak at a management level, weak behind the scenes and weak as an outfit. Give in to Kone's demands in order to keep him happy and you can expect a queue of agents waiting around the block wanting improved deals for their players.

If you choose option two then we are faced with replacing our best defender with very little time to do so. It's probably the best of the the three options in many respects but is still far from being ideal.

If you choose option three then you're going to have a negative player hanging around that has already shown that he has a terrible attitude and is being managed off the pitch by the wrong type of people.

Does Kone deserve to be well paid? I suppose he does, yes.

Do we really want to be handing out large contracts to players that have proven they are unprofessional? I'm not so sure. The season starts tomorrow and our best defender has felt the need to released a horrifically-timed statement that will only cause unrest around the club, the fans and the media.

And really, at the heart of it, this is all because someone who is already very well paid wants to be even better paid and wants the fans of the club he plays for to turn against them in order to create tension and pressure, which I suppose Kone and his agent hope will force the club into making a decision that they are not necessarily comfortable with.

Sometimes I hate football.

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