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Sunderland manager David Moyes says centre-half Lamine Kone has turned down a new deal at the Stadium of Light.
The Scot also appeared to question the back injury that will rule the Ivorian out of Sunday's Premier League home clash with Middlesbrough.
Kone, 27, joined the Black Cats in January and was a key figure in helping them avoid Premier League relegation last season, but has since told Moyes that he wants to move to Everton before the end of the transfer window on 31 August.
Sunderland have only 14 fit senior professionals available after selling defender Younes Kaboul to Watford in a £3.5m deal this week, while midfielder Lee Cattermole has been ruled out for up to six weeks following hernia surgery.
When asked at a media conference on Thursday: "Does Kone have a bad back? Or does he say he has a bad back?". Moyes replied: "He says he’s got a bad back.
"We said we would wait until September 1 but we offered him a contract [on Thursday]. We gave that offer to him personally. His choice was still to go, to leave. He said “no” to the offer."
One player happier with life on Wearside is striker Jermain Defoe,who says he is enjoying training at the Academy of Light under Moyes.
"The new manager has come in and things have changed - different methods, different way of play and different training - but things are really good," Defoe told Sky Sports.
"There's a lot of possession in training, which the boys enjoy, and we're really organised. The manager is very hands-on with the players in terms of coaching and we've enjoyed it, it's been good so far."
Former Everton and Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell, who started his Premier League career at Goodison Park under Moyes, is also enjoying working again under his old mentor.
"It’s funny how football pans out," he said.
"I played for him for five years, I’ve been away four and now I’m back. That’s how football goes, you never know what’s around the corner.
"He’s a great manager, and the approach is pretty similar [to how it was under Allardyce] in the fact that you have to give 100 per cent. It’s a work ethic he wants.
"We might play a little bit different, but as far as the basics go, he’s the type of manager who expects nothing less than 100 per cent and I thought we gave that to him last weekend."
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