The Citizens have been linked with the England international continuously throughout 2016 and are now reportedly in talks with the Toffees over a summer transfer that will likely set a new Premier League record fee for a defender.
But according to The Sun, new Everton owner Farhan Mashiri will only sanction the £50million-rated youngster’s departure once Ronald Koeman has a replacement lined up first.
And Sunderland defender Lamine Kone is at the top of the Everton gaffer’s hit list, with the Goodison outfit reportedly working on a £14million approach for the combative centre-half.
The 27-year-old only moved to the Stadium of Light during the January transfer window, going on to play a pivotal role in the Black Cat’s Premier League survival.
He scored twice in 15 appearances last season, also helping Sunderland claim three clean sheets, and averaged 1.8 tackles, 2.1 interceptions and whopping 9.2 clearances per match.
And HITC believe the Wearside outfit are likely to cash in on the Frenchman because they’ll have one of the smallest budgets in the Premier League next season.