By Harvey Byrne

Sunderland have offered to make defender Lamine Kone their highest paid player amid interest from Everton, according to a report.

French news outlet Foot Mercato claim that the Black Cats are keen to make the 27-year-old centre-back their highest paid player after David Moyes revealed that the Toffees had made a bid for the Ivorian.

It is said that Everton have made the signing of Kone a “priority” and Sunderland are keen to fend off interest in one of their key men.

This report follow claims that Moyes had slapped a £20million price tag on the in-demand defender after initially denying that the former Bordeaux hard-man had submitted a transfer request.

The Paris-born defender was promised by former boss Sam Allardyce that if he kept the Black Cats up last campaign, then he would receive a pay rise on his deal, which still has four-years left to run.

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, chipping in with two goals.

The former Lorient stopper played the full 90 minutes for Sunderland as they suffered a 2-1 loss against Manchester City on Saturday.

In other Everton transfer news, Yannick Bolasie has revealed that Romelu Lukaku has been “badgering him for ages” to move to the Toffees this summer.