Boss David Moyes has confirmed an offer for Lamine Kone has been rejected and he insists the defender is staying at Sunderland.
Kone has been the subject of interest from Moyes’ former club Everton and a bid in the region of £18million is on the table from the Blues.
However, Moyes says he has personally made it clear to the club that he cannot afford to lose the centre-back and he insists the 27-year-old will not be moving on.
“Kone will stay. The offer’s been rejected by me, yes,” Moyes said. “Given the prices, it would be very difficult to replace Lamine. Unless we could get a suitable replacement, I would never do the deal.”
Atletico Madrid defender Javier Manquillo and Barnsley centre-back Alfie Mawson are players Moyes is hoping to bring in before the transfer window closes and the Scot says he has faith he will be backed by owner Ellis Short, even though he says the Black Cats’ budget is not as big as other Premier League clubs.
He added: “I’ve got full faith in the owner. But there’s no doubt that our budget is not at the level of many other clubs you see buying players at the moment.
“I’m confident we’ll get a few in before September 1 but the quality of the players that Sunderland can get at the moment is probably not what I’ve had in the Premier League. Not even close.
“You look at our competitors and what they’re spending and we’re having to deal differently.”