By Harvey Byrne

West Ham are preparing to trigger a clause in Sunderland defender Lamine Kone’s contract, according to a report.

The Mirror has claimed that the 27-year-old has an £18million get-out clause in his contract and the Hammers are ready to activate it in January.

It is stated that manager Slaven Bilic is planning to add the centre-back to his defence, which has conceded 31 goals in 15 fixtures this season.

The Ivory Coast international made the switch to the north east last January from French side Lorient.

He helped the club stay in the Premier League last season, playing in 15 fixtures in the second half of the campaign.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Kone was heavily linked with a move to Ronald Koeman’s Everton side throughout the summer, but he was eventually handed a new five-year deal by David Moyes in September.

However, it is stated that the Hammers are now ready to pounce for the defender with the clause in his new deal.

Kone has played 14 times for Sunderland this season, who are currently bottom of the Premier League with 11 points from 15 fixtures.

Bilic’s West Ham side are just two points above the Black Cats in 17th and they will be looking to draft up options for January in order to improve their current poor standing.

Football Insider verdict:

West Ham are in desperate need of improving their defence sooner rather than later, but are they that desperate they are willing to spend £18million on a player currently at a club bottom of the league? The fee is astronomical for a defender without mentioning Lamine Kone’s name alongside it. The Ivory Coast international would provide a solid addition to the team, but the Hammers should stay well away from him for the price quoted. He has shown with Sunderland that he can’t be the difference between a club staying up and a club going down, and West Ham should reserve £18million payouts for those types of special players.

In other West Ham transfer news, these European heavyweights are targeting this Hammers 23-year-old.