HITC Sport understands Sunderland ace is keen on move
Sunderland's Lamine Kone celebrates with team mates after scoring their first goal
Everton remain in talks with Sunderland over central defender Lamine Kone and are hopeful of adding him to their squad before the weekend, HITC Sport understands.
The Toffees have seen offers of £16million and £18million and know they will have to break the £20million barrier to land the 27-year-old Ivory Coast international - who only joined the club from Lorient in January.
Lamine Kone scores the second goal for Sunderland
Kone was a stalwart under Sam Allardyce and played a huge part in their successful battle against relegation and Everton want him to bolster their defensive ranks after selling John Stones to Manchester City.
They already have a deal for Swansea's Ashley Williams agreed but Ronald Koeman wants additional options and Kone is now very much in their sights.
Sources have confirmed to HITC Sport that the player wants to be able to talk to Everton and Sunderland will relent if the Toffees match their valuation.
Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair
"At over £20million a deal looks likely, and Sunderland are expecting that offer," the source said.
Sunderland do look as if they are planning for life without Kone and have agreed a deal with Manchester United for young defensive pair Donald Love and Paddy McNair - who both featured in the first-team under Louis van Gaal.
David Moyes need extra cover and the 21-year-old pair will offer some real options for the new Black Cats chief.