Having supposedly bristled at the idea of spending on the Manchester United star, West Ham are happy to take the relegated Ivorian instead.
Sunderland's Lamine Kone scores their first goal
It has been a rollercoaster ride on the transfer trail for West Ham fans, as a flurry of reports have emerged regarding a couple of defenders.
The report said the east London club had come to the conclusion that strengthening the heart of defence wasn’t required.
That appeared somewhat logical. After all, the Hammers do have Winston Reid, James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna, Jose Fonte and youth prospects Reece Oxford and Declan Rice on the books.
England's Chris Smalling celebrates after scoring their first goal
However, later on the same day The Mirror revealed West Ham were in the driving seat to land relegated Sunderland centre-back Lamine Kone, who is also valued at £15m but could be available for just £5m less.
Naturally, news of dropping interest in an England international that started on the winning side in the Europa League final, in order to pursue a cheaper deal for a defender that was part of the third-worst defence in the Premier League provoked a very one-sided reaction.
Lamine Kone scores the second goal for Sunderland
If you have to buy a defender Smalling better than Kone.— Lynne Cannell (@LynneCannell51) June 16, 2017
Why do West Ham wanna sign tinpot players all the time? Kone over Smalling makes no sense at all— Pluto (@JamesSneddon_) June 16, 2017
Imagine wanting kone from Sunderland but not wanting smalling ffs such a banter club #WestHam— Jack Cox (@jackcox66) June 16, 2017
BUT WE DON'T WANT SMALLING— West Ham Central (@WestHam_Central) June 16, 2017
BANTER CLUBBBBBBBBBB https://t.co/FrUY82mGI4
Thing is though we won't go for Smalling but we'll go for Kone??— Eugene Gaughan (@eugene_gaughan) June 16, 2017
may be a little out of touch..can't afford to attend but do keep in touch..didn't Smalling get to at least CL playoff..Kone got relegated?— Martin ⚒ Stammers (@mgrstammers) June 16, 2017
Are they saying Smalling isn't worth £5m more?— Knighty (@Kniighty) June 16, 2017
SO WE BID 10 FOR KONE BUT NOT 10 FOR SMALLING AHAHAHAHAHAHA— Samzini (@Samcam06) June 16, 2017
Smalling, everyday.— adam s (@earlofnorksWHU) June 16, 2017