COMMENT By Derek Smithson
Newcastle should prepare a shock move for Sunderland defender Lamine Kone to help them in the Premier League next season.
The two north-east clubs are bitter rivals and it would be a controversial switch to make the move from the Stadium of Light to St James’ Park.
However, the likes of Shay Given, Titus Bramble, Jack Colback and Lee Clark have played for both clubs.
The Sun report that Sunderland will accept a £7million offer for 28-year-old Kone following their relegation to the Championship.
It is understood that the Black Cats valued the Ivory Coast international at almost three times that amount last summer when Everton were interested, but are prepared to sell him at a much lower fee now.
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez should plot a move for Kone as he would be a brilliant addition ahead of next season.
The Magpies need to strengthen their backline following their top flight return and need centre-backs to compete with the likes of Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles and Chancel Mbemba for a starting position.
Kone may have suffered relegation last season with Sunderland, but he was playing in a poor team and has shown in the past his qualities.
The powerful centre-back played a major role in them avoiding relegation in the 2015/16 campaign and proved he can be a rock in the defence.
Kone has 45 Premier League appearances under his belt and also played for French top-flight side Lorient earlier in his career.
His leadership qualities is something that Benitez’s side are crying out for and interest from Everton in the past shows that he is a highly regarded defender.
In other Newcastle transfer news, a Championship club are set to rival them for a teenage goal sensation.