By Harvey Byrne

Everton target Lamine Kone has asked to leave Sunderland just days before the start of the new season.

The Ivory Coast defender has revealed he has requested a move away from the Stadium of Light following talks with manager David Moyes and chief executive Martin Bain on Thursday.

In a statement on Thursday night, Kone claimed that an expected improved contract offer had failed to materialise and that he had concluded he was not part of David Moyes’ plans.

Sky reporter Keith Downie tweeted a statement from the powerful centre-back.

Sky Sports claimed on their website that the 27-year-old defender was in Merseyside on Tuesday for talks over a move to Toffees.

It is said by the broadcaster that Everton submitted an £18million bid for Kone more than a week ago and that discussions were being made for the centre-back to complete a move to Goodison Park, although a deal could not be thrashed out by the various parties.

Everton, who have already signed Wales skipper Ashley Williams from Swansea this week, are not the only admirers of the former Lorient player, with Chelsea also reportedly among the potential suitors monitoring the situation.

The Paris-born defender’s future at Sunderland started to look in doubt after Sam Allardyce’s exit from the club.

It is understood that the now England boss promised Kone a new contract if the Wearside club remained in the Premier league.

The defender ensured that the Black Cats remained in England’s top-flight, but David Moyes is believed to be unsure whether to grant Kone a pay rise.

Kone has four-years left on his current Sunderland contract and he starred in 15 games last season after joining in January ensuring they escaped from the clutches of relegation at the expense of their rivals Newcastle.

Ronald Koeman is still looking to to his squad after the club announced the signing of Williams from Swansea on Wednesday and Sky Sports revealed on Tuesday evening that the Merseysiders had settled a stunning £30million deal for winger Bolasie.

In other Everton transfer news, Toffees target Jose Fonte has dropped a clear hint that he will not be leaving Southampton.