By Dominic Toner
Everton are interested in signing Sunderland defender Lamine Kone and may use James McCarthy in a player-plus-cash deal, according to a report.
The Sun claim that Ronald Koeman is interested in the 27-year-old after failing to sign him in the summer transfer window.
The report details that the Toffees could make another offer for Kone in January with McCarthy added as a potential makeweight in a £10million deal.
Everton are looking to strengthen their defensive options and centre-back Kone would certainly add some power to the squad.
He has featured in 17 games this season for Sunderland and played a major role in the club’s escape from relegation last campaign.
The Ivory Coast international is currently away at the Africa Cup of Nations and is regarded as one of Sunderland’s standout players.
McCarthy has found himself struggling for game time at Goodison Park this season, making just nine appearances across all competitions.
The 26-year-old has found himself fighting for a starting position alongside the likes of Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye.
He now faces an even tougher battle to force his way into Koeman’s plans as youngster Tom Davies has emerged as an important player, plus Morgan Schneiderlin recently completed his signing from Manchester United.
Football Insider verdict:
Everton should definitely pursue the signature of Kone and it makes sense to offer up McCarthy as part of the deal. The Toffees midfielder has fallen right down the pecking order this season and is very unlikely to force his way back into the side. Koeman has enough back-up in the midfield so allowing McCarthy to leave should do no harm. Everton do desperately need more defensive options and centre-back Kone would fit the ball. The centre-back has proven to be a good player in the Premier League and could slot into the backline at Goodison Park. The Merseyside club have found success in using a back-three recently and they need more options than just Ashley Williams, Phil Jagielka, Mason Holgate and Ramiro Funes Mori.
In other Everton transfer news, the club are close to sealing an attacking transfer.