Chelsea could turn their attention to Lamine Kone after the delayed developments over their pursuit of long-term target Kalidou Koulibaly.
Antonio Conte is desperate to bring in a defender in this summer transfer window as he looks to build a side capable of challenging for the title.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly has been Conte’s No.1 target but the Serie A side are reluctant to sell him.
But according to Daily Mail, the Italian boss is now pondering a move for Sunderland’s Kone.
However, the Blues face stiff competition from Everton with latest reports suggesting the Toffies are already in talks to sign him after they sold John Stones to Manchester City.
Kone only joined Sunderland from French side Lorient in January, but his performances have attracted interest from the Premier League duo.
The 27-year-old will only be considered if Chelsea fails to sign Koulibaly.
And despite reportedly having a £42m bid rejected, the West Londoners are preparing another offer as Conte is refusing to give up on 25-year-old Koulibaly.
A five-year contract worth £60,000 a week is believed to be on the table, the Evening Standard suggest.
However, they have the upper hand as Koulibaly has informed Napoli he has no intention of signing a new deal with them.
Lamine Kone is fast, strong, athletic and likes to have the ball at his feet.
The Ivorian is comfortable taking the ball out of defence and setting up an attack.
Although talented in possession, the ball-carrying centre-half could get found out in the Premier League.
With teams focusing on the counter-attack these days, investing in a defender willing to dribble the ball up-field may not bring the compactness bottom-half clubs are searching for.