Sean Dyche is reportedly eyeing Sunderland centre-back Lamine Kone to replace Michael Keane at Turf Moor. Keane recently joined Everton for a fee rising to £30 million, which means the Burnley manager has money to spend.
And, according to an article in the Daily Mail, Dyche has identified Kone as the man to fill the void. The Ivory Coast international signed a new contract on Wearside last year, but wants to return to the Premier League following the Black Cats’ relegation to the Championship.
Dyche performed miracles to keep Burnley afloat last season, but the departure of Keane is a significant blow. He made more than 100 appearances for the Clarets during a three-year spell, leading by example with a string of impressive performances that resulted in a call-up to the England squad, before the Blues came knocking. He had also been linked with Manchester United.
Finding a central defender of Keane’s calibre is no easy task, but Kone could fit the bill. The 28-year-old endured a disappointing campaign, making 28 appearances and scoring one goal, but it would be harsh to judge him on that alone considering just how dire Sunderland were.
He had shown in the previous season under Sam Allardyce, where he played a crucial role in ensuring the club’s survival, that he has leadership qualities and an abundance of talent. It was that form which earned admiring glances from sides such as Everton and Crystal Palace.
New Sunderland manager Simon Grayson has already seen Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe leave the Stadium of Light. Kone looks set to be the next one through the exit door, with the club needing to slash their wage bill. Burnley can offer Kone a fresh challenge and the lure of Premier League football. He would be a good acquisition for a reasonable price.