Sunderland will listen to Kone and Ndong offers

Sunderland will be open to January offers for Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong if club owner Ellis Short has been unable to sell the club before the transfer window reopens.

 

Short remains keen to offload his 100 per cent stake in the Black Cats despite having pulled out of talks with a German consortium in the summer.

Short’s refusal to agree terms with the Germans should not be confused with a desire to extend his Wearside tenure. Sunderland are still on the market, with their Irish-American owner understood to have accepted he is unlikely to receive the asking price he was demanding at the start of the summer with the club currently struggling in the Championship relegation zone.

Ideally, Short would like to be able to sell before the end of the year, but with no bid currently on the table, the Black Cats owner has had to instruct chief executive Martin Bain to start making plans for the remainder of the season.

Short is hoping to reduce the club’s current debt level further, and Kone and Ndong, along with Jack Roswell are regarded as the most valuable assets in the squad. All three will be available for sale at the turn of the year, although Bain will be determined to hold out for a realistic figure, especially if Sunderland’s league position does not improve in the next two months.

Kone was the subject of overseas interest in the summer, and there was also talk of a possible bid from West Ham. His form in the opening two months of the season has been patchy at best, but his previous performances under Sam Allardyce in particular means he continues to have admirers.

The same is true of Ndong, who became Sunderland’s club-record purchase when they shelled out £13.6m to sign him from Lorient. West Ham were also interested in the Gabonese midfielder in the summer, along with a handful of clubs in France. 

No formal bids were received, but even though coach Simon Grayson clearly values Ndong highly having picked him for every Championship game bar one this season, the Black Cats boss will have very little say if an offer is tabled at the turn of the year.

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