By Coral Barry
Everton are lining up a move for Sunderland defender Lamine Kone, according to a report.
The Toffees are now thought to be resigned to the fact that they will lose John Stones to Manchester City this summer and are making enquiries for his replacement.
The Daily Mail claim Ronald Koeman has identified £15million-rated Kone as the perfect centre-back for his new-look Everton side.
Koeman admires Kone’s no-nonsense approach to defending with the 27-year-old impressing towards the end of last season as Sunderland narrowly avoided relegation thanks to a string of excellent results.
Kone arrived at the Stadium of Light in January from Ligue 1 and helped his side secure safety with 15 appearances and two goals.
The Frenchman is under contract until 2020 at Sunderland, but Everton are reportedly confident they can convince new manager David Moyes to part with the centre-back.
Moyes is thought to be eager to make changes to his new Sunderland squad, despite the season start being less than a month away, and needs to sell in order to buy.
West Brom and Leicester City are also thought to be interested in acquiring Kone’s services.
Everton have turned to Kone after they were frustrated in their attempts to sign Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly who is thought to have his heart set on a move to Chelsea.
In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees may be in for a shock as their top target considers a new contract offer from his current club.