Lamine Kone has committed his long-term future to Sunderland by signing a new five-year deal, putting an end to ongoing links with a move to Everton. Manager David Moyes expressed his delight over the agreement, stating that the Ivory Coast centre-back is a crucial player for the present and future of the Black Cats.
The 27-year-old defender moved to the Stadium of Light in January 2016 after Sunderland paid French club Lorient around £6m for his services. He rapidly became a crucial figure for former manager Sam Allardyce and played a major role in helping his side to avoid relegation.
His quick adaptation to the Premier League attracted the attention of Everton during the summer transfer window, with Ronald Koeman was desperately looking to fill the gap left by the departure of John Stones to Manchester City
Earlier in August Sky Sports reported that the Toffees had launched a £18m offer to bring him to Goodison Park.
Kone later stoked speculation by revealing he had asked Sunderland to leave the club, as the Black Cats had failed to fulfil a promise to improve his contract.
"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," Kone said to Sky Sports. "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, Sunderland blocked his departure and have now put an end to further speculations ahead of the January transfer window by giving the player the new contract he was demanding.
"Sunderland AFC defender Lamine Kone has signed a new five-year contract with the Black Cats. The deal will see the 27-year-old Ivory Coast international remain on Wearside until 2021," the clubconfirmed.
Moyes has indicated that he always considered Kone a crucial part of his plans at Sunderland.
"Lamine is an important player for this club and I made that clear to him from the outset," the boss said. "He has only been playing in the Premier League since January, but in that time we have already seen what he is capable of. The challenge for Lamine now is to build on what has been a very positive introduction to English football and to continue to improve and grow as a player."