By Alex Stevens
Everton are lining up an £18million bid for Lamine Kone after he rejected a £50,000-a-week new Sunderland deal, according to a report.
The Sun claim the Merseysiders will make a fresh swoop for the defender, who has already been the subject of a £14million offer from Ronald Koeman’s side.
Sunderland manager David Moyes revealed on Friday that Kone has rejected a new contract offer at Sunderland after Everton tabled an initial bid.
The manager, speaking ahead of the Black Cats’ clash with local rivals Middlesbrough on Sunday, announced that the 27-year-old had turned down a new and improved deal at the club and arrived into training with a “bad back”.
Sky Sports North East reporter Keith Downie revealed the news on his personal Twitter account on Friday afternoon and quoted Moyes as saying Sunderland want Kone to stay but know they “have that offer from Everton”.
The Sun claimed in a report on Friday that Sunderland had offered the Ivory Coast international a new £50,000-a-week contract to stop him moving to to the Toffees.
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.
It is expected that Kone will miss the match against Middlesbrough.
In other Everton transfer news, Hull have opened talks with the Toffees over a loan deal for Oumar Niasse.