HITC Sport understands from sources close to the matter that several Premier League clubs are eyeing a move for Lorient defender Lamine Kone and that the French club are bracing themselves for offers.
Kone has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in Ligue 1 with a number of commanding displays for Lorient during the past four seasons.
Kone enjoyed a four-year spell at Chateauroux before joining Lorient, where he has played over 100 games in Ligue 1.
The 26-year-old has played for France at every level from Under 17 to U20, but he is now an Ivory Coast international after pledging his allegiance to the African country.
The likes of Sunderland, West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers have all been credited with holding an interest in Kone in the past and it is understood that scouts from a number of Premier League clubs have been flocking to Lorient to watch him in action this season.
Kone's Premier League suitors could face competition for the defender, though, with the likes of Marseille, Sporting Lisbon and Hoffenheim all on the trail of the stopper.
Kone is understood to be keen on a move to the Premier League and Lorient are unlikely to be able to resist any sizeable offers for the defender this summer.
International deal broker Simon Conning is working on behalf of Kone and is talking to interested clubs in England about the defender