Speaking in an exclusive interview with Foot Mercato, Sunderland defender Lamine Koné discussed his summer transfer window.
On Everton’s interest:
In the end, it was a little bit difficult. But these are things in life that you have to deal with. It was a good opportunity for me to join this club Everton. They were interested in me and approached my representatives. But David Moyes and Sunderland were counting on me. The offers were rejected by my club. It is true that in this sense, I was disappointed. Maybe it was not my time. Things were put straight, I signed a new deal for an additional year here. In any case, I felt good at Sunderland. In the end, everything arranged itself.
On whether he expected to be an instant hit:
No, honestly not at all. I believed in myself. I knew that I could succeed in England. But not this quickly. I came late, at the end of January. I started with 3 big matches in February. I, we have to say, made an impression in the first match. I scored a goal. Honestly, I did not think I would have 4 months like those. I was surprised by myself. The fact that clubs came for me afterwards, I was truly very happy. I caught the eye of certain managers and even the Premier League. It means that I am doing a good job. Now, the work must continue.
On the fact that Everton’s final offer for him was worth €26m:
I expected to be worth less, a fee of maybe 8 million, 10 million, maybe 12 million. Double the price that Sunderland paid to buy me from Lorient. I did not think that I was worth more. More than 20 million Euros. The sums were impressive. But that is football today, football business.
On Sunderland’s decision to keep him:
I am not holding a grudge. At the time, to tell you the truth I was disappointed because it was a very good opportunity for me. Everton, they are not a small club. There were other clubs interested too. But it was not concrete like Everton. It was a very good opportunity for me. A golden opportunity. They are playing for the top positions. They could be in Europe. So it was an interesting challenge for me. At the time, I was disappointed. Despite all of that, today I have dealt with it. It is forgotten. Now, I will continue to attempt to put in good performances.
On his contract extension:
I am satisfied with this extension. Even if I had the opportunity to leave this summer, I have also said that I felt good at Sunderland. I wanted to come to England. They welcomed me well into the club. Everything went very well. But things don’t always go like that for a player. I am happy to have signed an extension.