By Will Butcher
Chelsea have joined Everton in the £18million race to sign Lamine Kone from Sunderland, according to a report.
The Daily Mail claim that Kone is on the shortlist of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and they are lining up the centre-back if a deal for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly falls through.
This could make Everton chiefs nervous, even though Sky Sports also reported on their website on Tuesday afternoon that the 27-year-old Sunderland’s defender was in Merseyside on Tuesday with negotiations continuing over a move to Goodison Park.
It is said by the broadcaster that Everton submitted an £18million bid for Kone more than a week ago and that they have also agreed a £12million deal with Swansea for Williams.
Chelsea and Everton have also gone head to head over the battle to prise Koulibaly from Napoli.
The London Evening Standard claim that the Serie A-based Senegal international is Chelsea’s first choice as they bid to strengthen their defence ahead of the new season.
It was reported by Sport Italia television expert Ifredo Pedulla on his website last month that Everton had tabled a stunning £46million bid for Koulibaly, 25.
The Merseysiders are now centring their attention on Premier League pair Kone and Williams after they sold England international John Stones to Manchester City for £47.5million.
The French-born defender, who played for France’s youth team before opting to play for Ivory Coast, arrived at the Stadium of Light in January from Ligue 1 and helped his side secure safety with 15 appearances and two goals.
Kone is under contract until 2020 at Sunderland, but both Everton and Chelsea are reportedly confident they can convince new manager David Moyes to part with the centre-back.
In other Everton transfer news, Daniel Gabbidon has given an update on this centre-back’s move to Everton via his Instagram account.