Wigan are bracing themselves for the first major departure from their playing staff following relegation to the Championship with Arouna Kone declaring that he has ‘no desire’ to play in England’ second tier.
The likes of Maynor Figueroa and Antolin Alcaraz are making a bee-line for the DW Stadium exit door when their contracts expire, but Ivory Coast international Kone will be the first to command a transfer fee.
It is believed that the former Levante frontman has a £5m buy-out clause in his current deal and plenty of Premier League clubs – according to the player – are thought to be keen on his services.
Everton are quoted across various media channels as harbouring an interest, with Roberto Martinez’ appointment the obvious link there. The Toffees’ city foes Liverpool have also been credited with an intent to draft in the 29-year-old, but after signing Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto from La Liga, they’re unlikely to be further bolstering their striking resources.
Instead, it’s Norwich’s name that’s emerged as Everton’s main contender in the race to acquire the man who notched 13 goals in his maiden, FA Cup-winning campaign in England.
The Canaries are desperate for some attacking reinforcements after looking desperately short in that department towards the end of the previous campaign and are also bracing themselves for the departure of talismanic striker Grant Holt, whose name is constantly cropping up in relation to a switch to the Australian top flight.
Kone’s pace and direct approach would bring two new aspects to the Norwich attack that were previously absent and a potential pairing with inbound Dutch star Ricky van Wolfswinkel points to plenty of goals at Carrow Road next term.
Whether the player would be tempted by the prospect of getting involved with a relegation battle in favour of competing for a starting spot at Everton, where he’s likely to be offered a more substantial pay packet, is unlikely though.
Still, if Norwich could land this in-demand hitman, their 5/2 price for relegation would definitely appreciate in value.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date