GREEK World Cup star Panagiotis Kone is NOT on Sunderland’s radar, as the Black Cats continue to target recruits with Premier League experience.
Kone has been heavily linked with a move to the Stadium of Light over the last 48 hours after reports emerged in Italy that Sunderland, along with Serie A trio Torino, Palermo and Lazio, were tracking the £3million-rated midfielder.
The 26-year-old is expected to leave relegated Italian outfit Bologna this summer and has had the stage to impress suitors this summer after starting two of Greece’s three World Cup group games, albeit he was forced off with a hamstring strain early in the 2-1 win over Ivory Coast on Tuesday.
But the Echo understands that Sunderland have no interest in making a move for Kone, with sources in Greece suggesting that the attacking midfielder would prefer to remain in Italy anyway.
That tallies with Sunderland’s transfer policy throughout this summer of targeting players well-versed in the demands of the Premier League after noting the mistakes of 12 months ago, when the Black Cats primarily looked for bargain basement signings on the Continent.
Sunderland’s three signings so far this summer, Billy Jones, Jordi Gomez and Costel Pantilimon, all boast extensive experience of playing in the English top flight, as do the club’s principle transfer targets Ashley Williams and Fabio Borini.
The Wearsiders’ hopes of signing the latter could be boosted by the imminent additions to Liverpool’s attacking options.
Sunderland supporters have feared that the four-month FIFA ban handed to Liverpool frontman Luis Suarez could have a knock-on effect on the Merseyside outfit’s willingness to part company with last season’s loan success story Borini.
But Liverpool are on the verge of sealing a £25million move for Southampton Adam Lallana, while they are also hopeful of landing fellow attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri from Bayern Munich, along with Belgium striker Divock Orgigi.
Meanwhile, ticket details have been confirmed for Sunderland’s opening pre-season fixture against Darlington 1883 on Saturday, July 19 (kick-off 3pm) at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park ground.
Season card holders with 20 or more loyalty points can buy tickets from 9am on Monday until 5pm next Friday. A further announcement will then be made over any remaining tickets.
Tickets are priced at £12 for adults and £6 for concessions.