After hitting a 13-goal haul and lifting the FA Cup in his debut season in England, you would think Arouna Kone would be loving life as a Wigan Athletic player.
But the small matter of the club’s relegation from the Premier League has ensured his differentiation from that attitude, with the Ivorian international outlining his desperation to return to England’s top flight.
“You always have ambitions as a footballer, and I don’t intend to play in the English second division,” he told The Sun.
“Wigan have gone down, which is a real shame. It’s up to them to set out their stance about my situation. I aim to play for one of the best clubs in England, and I hope I will get the chance.”
There is certainly no shortage of potential suitors to the workhorse’s signature, following a campaign that has bolstered his value into the £10m range, after a £3.5m switch from Sevilla last summer.
And a reunion with the man who brought him to England, Roberto Martinez, looks Kone’s likeliest avenue back to the Premier League, as the new Everton chief aims to enhance his threadbare ranks.
29-year-old Kone proved an integral component of Martinez’ FA Cup-winning Latics side this season, and the highly-rated Spaniard would love to populate his Toffees squad with the striker’s endless endeavour.
He does face competition for the former PSV hitman though, with Merseyside rivals Liverpool and newly-promoted Crystal Palace also alerted by his desire to quit the DW Stadium.
Brendan Rodgers is unlikely to make a move unless Luis Suarez exits Anfield though, and so Palace could prove the biggest threat to Everton’s chances of landing the forward.
Ian Holloway is in search of a goal grabber to replace the retired Kevin Phillips, and his financial reserves rival those of Martinez’ at Goodison Park.
And whilst the Ivorian would preference a reunion with his former boss, Kone would not sniff at the chance to get in the thick of a relegation battle with the Eagles, should Everton be put off by his hefty price tag.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.