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Roundup: Snodgrass & Kone gossip; Lens back to Turkey (again) & Pickford bids final farewell

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Sunderland linked with a move to sign Robert Snodgrass; Burnley the bookies' favourites for Kone; Fenerbache confirm Lens bid and Jordan Pickford reflects on 14 years at Sunderland AFC.

Sunderland chasing £8 million Snodgrass

West Ham playmaker Robert Snodgrass is said to be a target for Simon Grayson after the Hammers indicated they may be willing to sell the Scotland international this summer.

The 29-year-old's price tag could prove to be a stumbling block in the Black Cats' pursuit of the wide midfielder however. Though his acquisition would be a statement signing for any Championship side given his quality and experience.

Premier League side Brighton are also said to have expressed an interest which makes luring Snodgrass to the Stadium of Light all the more difficult for Sunderland. But the fact that new Sunderland boss Grayson managed Snodgrass at Leeds - where the player enjoyed some of his best football - could yet be a key factor in any negotiations.

Scotland v England - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Could we see him in a Sunderland shirt next season?
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Snodgrass has some pedigree in the Championship from that stint at Leeds where he really made a name for himself as a hard-working winger possessing some deadly set piece accuracy and he went on to enhance his reputation further in the Premier League with Hull City before his move to the London Stadium last season.

His signing could prove key to Sunderland's season should they be able to pull it off and it would serve as a hugely positive kick-start to Grayson's reign.


Lens still waiting for his move

Jeremain Lens returned to training at the Academy of Light on Wednesday despite his long-stated desire to leave Sunderland.

There have been long conflicting reports regarding the Dutchman's future with media outlets in Turkey relentlessly claiming all manner of conclusions to the saga. A month ago it was reported that Fenerbahce had "given up" on Lens before further updates suggested that the Istanbul outfit have outlined a deal with Sunderland.

With Lens eating a little humble pie perhaps by being back on Wearside - but not likely relishing the taste for too long - Fenerbahce's manager Aykut Kocaman has further confirmed that a bid for Lens has been made and the club are now just waiting for his decision.

The proposal for Lens was made, we are waiting.

Contrary to that of course, Lens himself claimed yesterday that he hasn't heard from the Super Lig club about any deal. In an interview with Fox Sports, Lens was quoted saying he's had "nothing concrete yet" from the Turkish club but he would still like to go back to the Yellow Canaries after a successful loan spell there last season.

Netherlands v Luxembourg - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Lens will be looking to be part of Dick Advocaat's World Cup squad in 2018
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Should he stay at Sunderland, Lens could prove to be an excellent player in the Championship. We know he possesses quality and if Grayson could get the effort out of him he would be a very a valuable asset. In fact a midfield of Cattermole, Ndong, Snodgrass and McGeady with Lens in a central attacking role looks very strong on paper, if at this stage unlikely.


Burnley lead Kone chase

After the £30 million sale of Michael Keane to Everton, Burnley have been left with a gap to fill at centre-half. A gap that the bookmakers feel is about to be filled by Lamine Kone.

The Ivorian has been heavily linked with a transfer since Sam Allardyce left in the summer of 2016 and his successor David Moyes rejected a £26 million offer from Everton for his services soon after.

While its not known how much Burnley are willing to offer for the centre-half, we can only hope that Sunderland can drum up the price for the Ivorian defender, knowing how much the Keane deal was worth to the Clarets.

Kone arrived on Wearside in January 2016 from FC Lorient and the partnership he formed with Younes Kaboul was crucial in that year's survival bid. However after Big Sam's departure and some dispute with Sunderland over a new contract in the aftermath, the Ivorian's form took a nose dive and he hasn't appeared as if he wanted to play for the Black Cats ever since. This exit seems more a question of when, not if.

Sunderland v Southampton - Premier League
Time to go
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Pickford approves of Grayson's appointment

Former Sunderland 'keeper and Washington lad, Jordan Pickford has praised the appointment of Simon Grayson and spoke of his continues support for his boyhood club after his move to Everton.

The 23-year-old told the club's official website that he was delighted when he heard about the signing and believes Grayson's man-management skills and style of football will work wonders for the Sunderland.

Sunderland v Swansea City - Premier League
So it was goodbye - Jordan Pickford at the final Sunderland home game of the season
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Pickford played for Grayson on loan during the 2015-16 season at Preston and credits the former Preston manger for helping aid his development.

I got the opportunity to go to work with Simon and his staff there and it was a massive help for me

That loan spell was incredibly successful, so much so it was cut short by Sam Allardyce so he could hand the England U-21 international his chance in the first team. Pickford took that chance and in the following season cemented his place between the sticks and provided a number of spectacular performances that eventually lead to Everton signing the young man for £30 million this summer.

The keeper's comments came during one final visit to the Academy of Light as he bid farewell to the club that he has been a part of since the age of 8. When asked about his love for the club, Pickford thanked the fans and promised he will forever be a supporter even saying he will try to get back to cheer the lads on in the South Stand of the SoL.