Sunderland manager David Moyes remains hopeful Lamine Kone will stay at the club, despite a reported £21 million bid from Everton and continued speculation regarding the defender's future.
Moyes confirmed he turned the offer down due to a belief that he would not be able to sign a replacement for the 27-year-old but didn't confirm the move had been rejected outright by the Sunderland board.
"Kone will stay," Moyes said. "The offer's been rejected by me, yes. I've had that offer for a while now and I could have invested the money two weeks ago but doing that is very difficult. Given the prices, it would be very difficult to replace Lamine. Unless we could get a suitable replacement, I would never do the deal."
Moyes told Kone to stay away from Sunderland training until after the transfer window closed after the Ivory Coast international pulled out of the Premier League game against Middlesbrough with a back injury and rejected a new contract at the club.
Meanwhile, the former Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad boss also bemoaned Sunderland's inability to compete with their Premier League rivals in the transfer market.
"I've got full faith in the owner [Ellis Short]," Moyes said. "But there's no doubt that our budget is not at the level of many other clubs you see buying players at the moment.
"I'm confident we'll get a few in before Sept. 1 but the quality of the players that Sunderland can get at the moment is probably not what I've had in the Premier League. Not even close. You look at our competitors and what they're spending and we're having to deal differently."
There had been talk of Sunderland joining Watford in attempting to sign James McCarthy from Everton, but Moyes played down the chances of that happening.
"I don't know if we'd have that kind of cash to spend on just one player," he said. "I hope it won't be the case in a couple of years' time."