Lamine Kone deal still alive for Sunderland
The possibility of the centre-back moving to Wearside is still high. (Photo: BBC Sport)

A potential deal between Sunderland and defender Lamine Kone is still possible according to the Sunderland Echo, despite recent rumours suggesting otherwise.

The Black Cats are on the verge of completing the signing of another defender, Jan Kirchhoff, which has fuelled talk that a deal for Kone is now dead.

However, that is not the case, with Sam Allardyce looking to bring in three players in this window, and the Ivory Coast international being a big target.

Move still on

Rated at £5 million ahead of his contract with Lorient expiring this summer, Kone travelled to the North-East last week as negotiations continue between the two clubs.

Despite rumours of talks collapsing, the two are very much still discussing terms, with a deal simply proving to be more difficult than Allardyce and Sunderland expected.

With the manager highlighting the defence, and particularly the spine of the team, as the area to improve this month, he is keen to bring in at least another central defender, as well as Kirchhoff.

Injury woes have made this more important in recent weeks, with both John O'Shea and Sebastian Coates suffering slight niggles during a busy festive period, whilst Younes Kaboul remains sidelined for another six weeks

A lack of options has forced him to delve deeper into his squad than he may have liked, looking at veteran Wes Brown and youngster Tom Beadling for solutions, and so central defenders have become the top priority - especially if he wants to get back to playing 3-5-2.

Left-back not needed

The prioritisation of a centre-back means that the left-back slot has become less important to Allardyce now, and so he is not looking to follow up his interest in Olympiakos' Arthur Masuaku in the current window.

Arthur Masuaku (right) will continue to be monitored by Sunderland, even if they aren't looking to buy him this month. (Zimbio)
Arthur Masuaku (right) will continue to be monitored by Sunderland, even if they aren't looking to buy him this month. (Zimbio)

Patrick van Aanholt has rectified his horrendous form shown at the beginning of the season too, making the position even less of a problem, though the Black Cats will continue to monitor the Frenchman and his situation, potentially eyeing up a move for him in the summer.

Olympiakos have slapped a huge £7 million price tag on their left-back, and Allardyce clearly feels that these funds are needed more elsewhere to improve the team.