After the resignation of Sunderland manager David Moyes was confirmed on Monday evening, former captain Michael Gray was speaking on Sky Sports News where he spilled the beans on some first-team players who told David Moyes that they were not available for selection for the final games of the Premier League season.
Gray claimed to have spoken to a member of Moyes' coaching staff earlier in the week and named Lamine Kone as one of the players who made himself unavailable for selection for the Chelsea match, seemingly due to fear of picking up an injury which could possibly deter interest from other clubs.
Kone has been much maligned for his inconsistent performances at Sunderland, as while he was instrumental in keeping the club up at the end of last season, he put in some disastrous performances this campaign which many, including Gray, believe is partly due to his head being turned by transfer speculation last summer.
Speaking to Jim White of Sky Sports, Gray claimed that while two were confirmed to have opted out of the Chelsea game, many more had claimed to be injured over the final few weeks of the season to avoid playing.
We need to refresh the whole thing. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of the players leaving our football club.
I spoke to one of the coaches at the club a couple of days ago, and he told me that two of the players for the weekend's game at Chelsea had refused to play, so I think that kind of tells you what's happened at the football club which is a disgrace really.
I think if you're under contract, we kind of look from the outside in but when you've got inside info from people like that, and you've got players knocking on the manager's door saying that they don't want to play, that's got nothing to do with David. If they're doing that then they don't deserve to be at the club in the first place.
White then pushed Gray for names, and while he claimed to be unsure as to who the second player was, he was sure that Kone was one of the men responsible.
One thing is for sure, and that it wasn't John O'Shea, who played all 90 minutes of each game in the last month.
One of them was Lamine Kone which there was a lot of speculation about in the summer, his head got turned by Everton. I'm not quite sure who the other player is but I definitely know that there were two players knocking on David's door.
I know that the injury list was getting bigger and bigger because the players were a little bit frightened of playing the last few games of the season or just weren't enjoying their football. So these types of players are the ones we need to get out of our club, when I say these type of players, I believe there's gonna be 10 or 15 players leaving the club after the conversation I had.
I hope that's the case.
It's an interesting claim by Gray, and having done a bit of detective work regarding Sunderland players who had been featuring regularly before not playing against Chelsea, there are a few names that stand out.
We must insist that this is purely speculation, but there are a number that fit that description. Jason Denayer is one who featured regularly until missing the Arsenal and Chelsea games to end the season, Didier N'Dong too was an ever present before missing the Chelsea game, and Wahbi Khazri also was not selected for the final two games of the season.
Jermaine Defoe is another who did not play against Chelsea, and as Gray was speaking to Sky Sports News, the story broke that the England striker was in talks with Bournemouth over a potential transfer, and although it would be absolutely ludicrous to suggest that Defoe is the type of player Sunderland needs to get out of their club, the idea that he did not want to risk injury ahead of a potential move is understandable.
Turbulent times at Sunderland, we'll bring you more on this as it develops.