Ah, Lamine Kone, where to begin with the Ivorian behemoth? On his day Lamine is unbeatable - a colossus in defence capable of stifling even the most potent of attackers. However, more too often than not in recent months our man-mountain at the back has been rather lame - as though he isn’t really focused on the task at hand on Wearside.
We noted yesterday that Kone had been liking West Ham tweets as speculation mounted about a possible move to the Hammers, but it would appear that Kone has since shifted his expectations.
Rather than settling for Slaven Bilić’s West Ham, it would appear than Kone now has his sights set on rather more illustrious destinations in the country’s capital.
It’s rather amusing to follow Kone on social media because: either he does some of the posting himself and has zero tact, or the team he hires to do his work for him are absolute morons. Either way it’s worth a bit of a laugh.
Anyone else see Kone totally get the wrong end of the stick when Wes Brown shared his thoughts on the Ivorian’s recent performances? Classic.
Honestly, you just couldn’t make it up.
That being said, Kone’s exit could prove to be important to Sunderland’s transfer aspirations this summer. Simon Grayson was pressed on the transfer front by local media and suggested once again that any incomings will be totally dependent on outgoings due to financial issues:
I’ve got a good relationship with Martin (Bain), and it’s really a case of seeing what happens with getting players out. It’s going to be a case of when a player leaves, we will replace them.
There might still be scope to bring in players without that happening, too. And if somebody goes out for a large amount of money, it might allow you to bring in two off the back of one going out. It’s all relative to the wages, I’ve still got two loans, so there are plenty of options for us.
But it’s one of those situations where you are waiting for other clubs to do certain business and then, if it’s the right deal for us and we’re given the green light by the club we’re talking to, then we can go ahead. As I’ve said many times, there’s plenty of work going on behind the scenes.
Kone and Khazri are the chief suspects in terms of players wishing to leave the club (so Gibbo was right after all!?), and Grayson will be eager to replace their strength and creativity should they leave. Add into the equation Grayson’s comments regarding Papy Djilibodji, and you could see a canny sum of money being freed up in the coming few weeks:
He's (Djilibodji) available, we just think that two centre-backs plus John O'Shea are in a better position at this moment in time... it’s not a fitness thing.
Reading those comments it’s probably fair to say that Papy is on the look out for a new club after doing little to impress anyone in the last year or so. Oh well, onwards and upwards.
Coming in, however, Grayson seems keen to reinforce his creative options with Moroccan winger Yassine Ayoub linked to the club in the last day or so.
The 23 year-old FC Utrecht winger could be available at a cut price cost due to having a mere 12 months remaining on his contract. His ability to play through the middle of the pitch as well as out wide will be a positive for Grayson who experimented with Khazri as a number 10 on Thursday night.
Ayoub played 40 games for Utrecht last season and managed to contribute with 5 goals and 12 assists - a decent return for such a young player, and certainly numbers that will impress Grayson ahead of a difficult and arduous Championship campaign.
He will of course have a friendly face at the club with Robbin Ruiter, also formerly of the eastern Randstad based club, now plying his trade on Wearside too. The Eredivisie is well-stocked with reasonably priced talent, and with the club facing financial constraints ahead of the coming season it’s no shock to see someone like Ayoub linked to the club.
Here’s hoping Grayson can bring in a couple of players capable of firing us into the upper echelons of the Champo!