West Ham are leading the race to sign Sunderland defender Lamine Kone, according to reports.
The Hammers are one of a few Premier League clubs tracking the Ivorian defender following Sunderland’s relegation, with reports suggesting that the only sticking point is the Black Cats’ £15million price tag.
There is expected to be a big exodus of players from the Stadium of Light this summer following their drop to the Championship, with the club needing to sell in order to raise funds to rebuild their own squad.
Jordan Pickford was the first to depart, with Everton sealing a £30million deal for the 22-year-old goalkeeper earlier this week.
Kone is desperate to depart after asking to leave last summer, with Sunderland hoping to make around £15million for the 28-year-old who still has four years to run on his current Wearside deal.
He signed that deal last summer after David Moyes rejected an £18million offer from Everton, plus a transfer request from the player himself before convincing him to stay. Relegation means that Kone once again wants to leave, however, so he can continue to play Premier League football.
After a disappointing campaign for both Sunderland and Kone personally, the Black Cats will be fortunate to get £15miillion.
According to our sister paper the Mirror, West Ham are hoping to conclude a £10million deal for the strong centre-back, who initially excelled at Sunderland in his first six months under former boss Sam Allardyce.
West Brom are also said to be interested, with boss Tony Pulis preparing to lose ex-Sunderland loanee Jonny Evans, while he is being priced out of a deal for Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho.
Despite that, it’s West Ham who are believed to be leading the race to lure Kone away from Sunderland.