By Alex Stevens
Everton target Lamine Kone has been banned from Sunderland until the transfer window closes, according to a report.
The Sun claim the unsettled centre-half has been ordered by manager David Moyes to stay away from training after he snubbed a new deal.
It is said the new Black Cats boss sent Kone into exile until the transfer window cut-off on 31 August after he pulled out of the club’s match against Middlesbrough on Sunday with a back injury.
The Sun reported earlier on Saturday that Everton were lining up a bid of £18million bid for Kone.
Moyes revealed on Friday that Kone has rejected a new contract offer, which the Sun claim is worth £50,000-a-week, after Everton tabled an initial bid.
The manager announced that the 27-year-old had turned down the improved deal and arrived into training with a “bad back”.
The north east club are trying to fend off interest from the Merseysiders, who have been pursuing Kone after being impressed by his displays in the centre of defence since his January move from French club Lorient.
A new £18million bid from Everton could be enough to push through a deal for the Ivory Coast international, who has already handed in a transfer request to Sunderland.
The Toffees are keen to sign another centre-back after allowing John Stones to leave Goodison Park and join Manchester City in a £47.5million deal.
They have brought in Swansea captain Ashley Williams, but manager Ronald Koeman is keen for more depth at the heart of his defence.
Kone signed for the Black Cats in January following an impressive stint in France’s top tier, and impressed during Sunderland’s fight against relegation with his resolute displays at the club.
The former Lorient stopper played the full 90 minutes for Sunderland as they suffered a 2-1 loss against Manchester City last Saturday.
In other Everton transfer news, Hull have opened talks with the Toffees over a loan deal for Oumar Niasse.