Kone delays prompt Everton to target Valencia defender
Everton boss Ronald Koeman is looking to sign one more centre half before the summer’s transfer window slams shut, and Valencia’s Aymen Abdennour is the new name tipped with a move to Merseyside.
The Toffees boss has been trying to sign Lamine Kone from Sunderland, but the move has hit frequent obstacles and it’s believed the Black Cats are ready to offer their prize defender a bumper deal to ensure he remains on Wearside.
Abdennour has only been in Spain for a year, after joining from Monaco.
The 27-year-old Tunisian has been capped 12 times by his country, and though Koeman has already signed Ashley Williams from Swansea this summer, the Dutchman is looking for one more centre-half to add depth.
It’s believed Valencia will sell for around £18m, exactly the same amount as they paid Monaco 12 months ago.
Valencia are in FFP trouble and are already under pressure to sell Shkodran Mustafi, with club director Garcia Pitarch saying last week: “We’re above the FFP guidelines, that’s the reality.
“The four players we’ve signed cannot be registered, meaning we need to reduce the cost in a significant manner to register the players and sign a centre-back, which is a priority in case one of the ones at our club leaves”
The Tunisia international made his breakthrough with Toulouse in the 2011-12 campaign, featuring 32 times as le Tef finished a commendable eighth in Ligue 1, thanks in no small part to a defence which conceded a joint-low 34 goals.
His performances in the south-west of France prompted Monaco to splash out £11m in 2014, and Abdennour wasted no time settling in, helping his new side finish third in 2014-15 before joining Valencia that summer.
Since selling John Stones to Manchester City for £50m, Everton have spent half of that windfall on Crystal Palace’s Yannick Bolasie, but it’s clear Koeman is eager to shore up a defence which regularly underperformed last season.
Only the Premier League’s bottom five sides conceded more than the Toffees last term, and the signing of Idrissa Gueye from Aston Villa is another indicator of how keen Koeman is to keep things tight at the back.
As a move for Kone continues to hit the skids, Abdennour looks evermore like a suitable option as Everton look to bounce back into the top half.
The Toffees can continue their solid start to the campaign when they host Stoke City this weekend.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.