So Sam Allardyce has suggested he has no interest in Sunderland defender Lamine Kone. Well what a surprise - truthfully, why would he?
The Ivorian was signed by Big Sam two years ago and naturally has been linked to Everton ever since the former Black Cats boss took up the reins at Goodison Park. Toffees fans will no doubt be subject to a few more weeks yet claiming their club is also after Wahbi Khazri and Jan Kirchhoff by an unimaginative press.
The fervour for Allardyce to return to the Stadium of Light and snaffle Kone for a bargain £10m seems to have been solely generated by the media in the north east - perhaps aided by his agent, of course.
Truthfully, it would be an almighty risk to assume the soon-to-be 29-year-old could offer something to a Premier League defence considering he wouldn’t get a start for a side fourth bottom of the Championship right now.
Kone’s poor communication skills on the pitch would render him a liability at the heart of Chris Coleman’s three-man central defence, and Everton’s Tyias Browning looks the real deal anyway in comparison with his Paris-born teammate.
Where Lamine Kone goes next is anyone’s guess. It was notable that he reappeared on social media this week after going quiet on us since the #TeamKone days were exposed as nowt but a sham. Transfer window is coming big lad, get yourself on Twitter and remind folks you exist. Do us a favour.
Allardyce has him sussed of course, which is a shame considering Sunderland could do with a few quid right now to begin adding to a squad which has proven itself largely incapable of competing in the second tier. Big Sam was canny cutting as well, saying:
Lamine was one of the outstanding defenders who produced a remarkable run of performances when he first arrived at Sunderland to help us stay in the Premier League but since then I’m not quite sure what’s happened to his career
It’s obviously slipped way down from where he was when he performed with me so that puts a doubt about his ability to sustain that level of performance. So I’m not sure whether I’d be interested or not to be honest.
That assessment from his former boss should really act as a wake up call for the big defender. But we’ve had episodes like this before, ahead of previous transfer windows where folks have suggested Kone needs to step up to engineer a move, all to little avail where it matters.
Kone is out injured of course right now and will be until mid-January. One of the higher earners at Sunderland after his terms were improved following that 2016 flirtation with Everton, it would be in everyone’s best interests for him to depart.
But he probably won’t and it’s difficult to see why any Premier League club would take a risk on him these days - a return to France would be likely, but no Ligue 1 side would be able to afford his wages. It looks like we’re stuck together for the time being.