According to the Sun on Sunday, Brighton will offer Sunderland £5m to take Lamine Kone off their hands in the January window.
And that would roughly represent the Black Cats getting their money back on the centre-back signed from Lorient in January 2016, but a far cry from the £18m Everton were supposedly offering a little over a year ago.
Certainly Seagulls boss Chris Hughton was at Griffin Park a week gone Saturday to run the rule over one or two players turning out for either Sunderland or Brentford, but it had been assumed Duncan Watmore would be the man of interest in the Black Cats line-up.
There was a rumour in the run-up to the summer transfer deadline that Brighton had made an £8m offer for Lamine Kone which Sunderland rejected, holding out for £10m.
In the end, the hierarchy at the Stadium of Light denied they had received any bids for the Ivorian, despite apparently being more than willing to sell him.
But, you may also recall that the Black Cats centre-half was unexpectedly absent from Ivory Coast’s World Cup Qualifier with Gabon on 2nd September. Kone linked up with his international teammates later that week and it is entirely possible he had been held up discussing a deadline day transfer.
Brighton have decent options at centre-back with Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy contributing to the seventh best defence in the Premier League at present in terms of goals against.
Dunk may yet be a target for the top-flight big spenders as he’s touted to make a bid to join England’s World Cup squad in Russia next summer. Kone could be prove to be a cut-price reinforcement for Chris Hughton’s rear guard.
Regardless, with his performances at the Stadium of Light continuing to disappoint, few on Wearside would be sorry to see the back of Lamine Kone.
Poor again yesterday against Bristol City, the 28-year-old was caught out for the Robins’ winner and his display was characterised by a succession of misplaced clearances and mistimed tackles.
Dropped for the trip to Preston at the end of September, Sunderland have conceded 5 goals in the last two games since Kone was restored to the starting line-up.
The Paris-born defender has played ten Championship matches this season with the Black Cats conceding an average of two goals per match with Kone in the side. Sunderland have the joint worst defensive record in the league alongside Burton Albion and freshening up the back line in January is a must.