According to reports earlier this week, shortly after selling Papy Djilobodji to Sunderland, Chelsea added his fellow defender and new teammate Lamine Koné to the shortlist of potential targets should the Kalidou Koulibaly transfer saga end in disappointment (which it is likely to do).
Koné may be a bit of underwhelming name — in fairness, just about anyone other than Leonardo Bonucci is — but he's impressed in the half-season he's spent at Sunderland and could be a stopgap option of sorts. That sounds very Gary Cahill-esque, but while the former Bolton defender isn't the object of universal acclaim, he's had a rather successful Chelsea career since joining in January of 2012.
But back to Koné. The 27-year-old signed a 4.5-year contract when he joined the Black Cats from Ligue 1 in January, but as he claims, he was already promised a raise this summer after helping the team stay in the Premier League. It would appear however that there's no new contract offer forthcoming, and so...
"After a week in which there has been a vast amount of speculation with regard to my future at Sunderland Football Club, I think that it is only fair to the fans of the club to clarify the situation."
"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. 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, until that time I give my word that I will give my utmost in training and on the field."
-Lamine Koné; source: Sky
Pay me or sell me ultimatums don't get much clearer than that. And while Everton have led the charge in terms of transfer rumors, including an £18m bid, they did also just sign Ashley Williams to help shape the post-Stones landscape. Maybe there's opportunity for Chelsea to gazump, if we so choose.