Sunderland are interested in Lamine Kone, Club Call have reported.
The Black Cats are prepared to do plenty of business in the January transfer window in order to improve their current position, with manager Sam Allardyce himself even dubbing them as relegation favourites, and Kone is the latest man linked with fixing their defensive problems.
Having conceded 26 goals in just 12 Premier League games this season, Sunderland are expected to prioritise additions to their back line, but are also expected to face competition for the Lorient man with a number of league rivals keen on securing his services as well.
Kone's agent confirms Premier League interest
Speaking to ESPN this week, Kone's agent, Mark McKay, revealed that a whole host of English top flight outfits have expressed an interest in his client.
McKay admitted that "there is mounting interest" in the 26-year-old, specifying that "a number of Premier League clubs" are those expressing this interest, with them having been "watching him for some time."
Club Call reports that those clubs are West Ham United, Aston Villa and Sunderland.
The agent believes that "several sides" are also "set" to send scouts to watch Kone play for Lorient against Paris Saint Germain after the current international break.
McKay did not take the opportunity to dismiss the rumours, however, but instead fuel them by describing his client as one who is "ideally suited" to England's "style of play" as he is "fast, strong and athletic."
Another defensive target for Sunderland
With Kone reportedly available for as little as £4 million, it comes as little surprise that he appeals to many, especially to sides in need of defensive improvements.
It is believed that Allardyce is to be given £20 million by chairman Ellis Short in the New Year in order to bolster his squad, and Kone would do exactly this, whilst not making a huge dent in the funds available either.
However, he is not their only reported target, with West Ham's James Collins and Olympiakos' Arthur Masuaku also understood to be on Sunderland's radar.
Still, it appears that the defence is in fact the focus when the transfer window opens, as opposed to the Black Cats looking to bring in another attacker, with reports emerging about interest in Championship forwards Charlie Austin, of Queens Park Rangers, and Chris Martin, of Derby County.