Sunderland defender Lamine Kone impressing as transfer talk continues amid Premier League interest

Sunderland are still to receive any bids for centre-back Lamine Kone, who had been widely expected to leave the club this summer.

The Black Cats will sell Kone at the right price, but the player has impressed behind the scenes with his willingness to toe the line under new manager Simon Grayson, committing his immediate future to Sunderland’s Championship cause.

Kone played more minutes than any other player in the pre-season programme and after a difficult afternoon against Celtic drew widespread praise for his performance against Derby County.

A number of sides have been tracking the 28-year-old, including Burnley, West Ham and West Brom.

No concrete offer has materialised, however, with the transfer window closing in just over three weeks time.

A new centre-back is a key priority for Grayson, who met with Martin Bain yesterday to discuss potential new signings.

The Black Cats have already offloaded Jeremain Lens, with sources on Wearside adamant that the year-long loan deal will automatically become permanent at the end of this season.

Reports in Turkey had suggested that Besiktas would have the option to make a decision on the Dutchman next summer.

The 29-year-old is thought to have already agreed terms on a bumper deal with the club, who will compete in the Champions League.