Lens and Kone, Money? Or More?

Lens and Kone, Money? Or More?
Nov 7, 2016

Champions League Europa League Sunderland

Effort-a vigorous or determined attempt.

“A serious attempt to do something. : something produced by work”.

By its diction definition, ‘effort’ is an abstract noun, meaning it does not exist, or cannot be seen.
But it couldn’t fall further from an abstract concept when it comes to football, and there’s nothing more noticed than a high level of effort and graft, or likewise a lack of it.
In the month that Jeremain Lens featured in the Champions League’s Team Of The Week, and scored the winner against Manchester United in the Europa League, his parent club, Sunderland, lie joint bottom of the table.

Joining the Black Cats back in the summer of 2015, he largely failed to impress in his time on Wearside. Bar a few moments of magic (his goal of the month against West Ham in which he was sent off in the same game), it was largely felt that he didn’t want to be at the club from the start, with his distinct lack of effort a large talking point. There was never any passionate endeavour, or ‘a serious attempt to do something’.
Under his reign, Sam Allardyce froze Jeremain Lens out of his relegation-threatened first team. He said,
He has had a cultural shock on the levels of performance required. Not talent-wise because we know he has the talent. I think what Jeremain has to do overall like they all have to do, is to lift his level up in terms of work-rate.
Lens’ work-rate was always a talking point for the fan-base, and in a relegation battle, many felt that the attitude he was displaying meant that he simply wasn’t up to it after the departure of his preferred manager, Dick Advocaat.
Sunderland fans will wonder what might have been if he’d stayed and really stuck in, feeling they could have had a real player on their hands. It seems to be a reoccurring theme with all of their highest quality players, almost a tradition. Now being reunited, Advocaat and Lens have really kicked on to give their Turkish fan-base something to really embrace the two Sunderland rejects by, with Fenerbache looking a force in Europe. That’s in no small part to the playmaking Dutchman. Much to the disgust of the fans of the club that legally owns him.

Then comes Kone, there’s been a serious amount of shade thrown at January arrival Lamine Kone’s effort, and he still finds himself in the first-team. Much to the surprise of Sky Sport’s Jamie Carragher.
The Champions League winning central defender turned pundit brought to light the player’s bumbling, lethargic movement on Monday Night Football, stating
I don’t see a bad attitude at Sunderland. I see a really poor group of players who would struggle in the Championship. But there’s one player whose attitude on the pitch this season has been nowhere near acceptable and I think that’s Kone at the back. Analysing the game, he took apart Kone’s attitude, piece by piece, highlighting his atrocious work-rate and his ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude. He put Sunderland under pressure too many times by his carelessness, and gave up a very questionable Alexis Sanchez goal, with fans and pundits alike analysing he was at fault for others.

At the end of last season, Kone was key, Carragher recognised this tagging him ‘a man mountain’ in his dominance amidst that Sunderland defence. There’s no doubt of Kone’s quality, being touted by what seems to be half of the Premier League for a January steal. It screams Jeremain Lens all-over, even though there are slightly different circumstances, the same headline reads: “Wasted potential.”
Trying the to slither out of the club to Everton in January, Kone eventually decided to sign a new contract, supposedly keeping him at the Academy of Light until 2021. It was a move made in the best interest of the club’s, and Kone’s pocket, and will most likely see him move on anyway. This will most likely be towards Sunderland’s favour, bringing in a reported heavy sum of money (if Everton’s alleged eighteen-million pound big in the summer is anything to go by), for a player who doesn’t even look like he wants to be here. But, it does raise some serious questions about the club, and world football in general. Contracts don’t seem to mean anything anymore.Kone and Lens both signed a deal, stating that they would be at the club for an extended period of time, around four years for each. Therefore I and many others think it’s a complete treason that these players are so keen to move on after such a short period of time, relative to their contract.

Before moving for Fenerbache, Lens spoke out about his time at Sunderland to Fox Sport:
I just had a problem with the club,
Sunderland would just love to get rid of me.
Tomorrow I will undergo the medical examination. I do not expect any problems. I’m looking forward to it.” For someone who put his loyalty to the club for an extended period of time, it doesn’t sound like there was a whole lot of commitment to stay in the first place. With that quote too, “Sunderland would just love to get rid of me”, is sure to make a lot of Sunderland fans blood boil. More to the owner of the club, Ellis Short, who invested heavily in him in a time of financial trouble. He simply hadn’t repaid what he owed the club, in effort commitment or desire, and that is why he was let go.

You get a sense Kone feels the same,
It was a good opportunity for me to join this club Everton, They were interested in me and approached my representatives. The offers were rejected by my club. It is true that in this sense, I was disappointed.
There’s no beating around the bush, he wanted that Everton transfer, he wanted to run out of the club after only a few months at Sunderland. That’s not right. That’s not how it should work.
Lamine Kone and Jeremain Lens weren’t the first players to force a move away from the club in a bid for a higher pay rise or to be at a club that finds themselves higher up the table. My guess is they won’t be the last either. Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan are both notable names to have done the exact same in recent memory.

It’s such a shame to see it at Sunderland so often, just when the fans think they’re onto something with a decent player, it all seems to fall apart so dramatically. In all seriousness, you can’t blame those players sometimes.
At a club like Sunderland, it will always be difficult to have a real, secure and cemented future. Financially, and in the Premier League in general, the Black Cats are very rarely up to scratch. Having battled relegation for the best part of the last ten years and poor decisions financially from the board (including Lens it seems), it seems as though the club is nothing but a stepping stone for the players to come and establish themselves in the highest paid league in the world. It’s disappointing, but also a truth in some cases. This seems to be the case in particular with Lens and Kone and will be having these farcical cases for some time unless there’s change.

Sunderland will only gain the respect of the players, and their agents if they start to become an annually secure Premier League team, and be deserving of that name. After having the worst start in a Premier League season, only winning their first game eleven games in, you can’t agree that big players will want to come and stay for the long-term future of the club, especially if the club find themselves dangling over that relegation abyss again.
It’s a very harsh truth, something that can be changed but will struggle to, no-one knows that more than David Moyes. It’s not looking to get better anytime soon, and that ‘journey’ which Martin Bain and David Moyes keep banging on about could see themselves and the fans through even more turmoil than ever experienced before.
I think Sunderland fans can expect to see a few more Jeremain Lens’ and Laine Kone’s before there is any more real stability at the club and that stable, mid-table mediocrity could be some way to come judged on the worst ever start to a First Division season.

  1. Bob Adamson says:

    Sadly all too true.

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