Sunderland are the latest club to come under siege from Everton’s Premier League transfer assault, with the Toffees rumoured to be readying an £18m bid for centre-back Lamine Kone.
The Merseysides, who have been linked with one player from almost every other top-flight side this summer, would leave the Black Cats desperately short in the heart of defence should they lure the Ivory Coast international away.
John O’Shea, Younes Kaboul and newly-acquired Papy Djilobodji are David Moyes’ only other options beyond the 27-year-old, so it’s understandable that gossip columns are suggesting the Black Cats want to buy plenty of defensive cover.
As many as three potential new faces have cropped up in the latest editions, so we’ve taken a closer look at each:
Kara Mbodji – Anderlecht
With a listed height of 6’3 on Whoscored, the Senegalese international is a taller option than Kone, who stands at 6’1 by comparison.
At two kilograms heavier than the Toffees target too, Mbodji profiles as a physically-imposing defender that can add some much needed size to the Black Cats’ backline.
The 26-year-old played 32 league games for Anderlecht last season after starting the campaign with Pro League rivals Genk.
Shane Duffy – Blackburn Rovers
Duffy was one of Rovers’ better defenders last term, making the eighth-most total clearances in the Championship with 258.
The Irishman also blocked 39 shots over the course of the campaign, which again put him amongst the division’s top 10 in that category.
Duffy then went to the European Championships and won the most aerial duels in Ireland’s squad despite only playing two of their four games.
Paddy McNair – Manchester United
The Northern Irishman’s career has stalled somewhat after making 16 Premier League outings for Louis van Gaal in the Dutchman’s first season at Old Trafford.
He was only called upon eight times last season and then was rarely used at the Euros by Michael O’Neill.
At 21-years-old he’d be a signing for the future at the Stadium of Light, but needs time and first-team exposure to develop into a long-term asset.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.