Ronald Koeman has been told Sunderland defender Lamine Kone is not for sale and he’s now pursuing Southampton’s Cuco Martina.
The Blues boss had hoped to sign centre-back Kone from the Black Cats this summer and an offer of £18million was lodged last week.
However, Sunderland boss David Moyes has insisted Kone will not be sold, meaning Koeman has turned his attention elsewhere in the transfer market as he looks to strengthen his defence.
“Kone will stay. The offer’s been rejected by me, yes,” Moyes said. “Given the prices, it would be very difficult to replace Lamine. Unless we could get a suitable replacement, I would never do the deal.”
Koeman has now reportedly submitted a £1.25m bid for Curacao international Martina, though, who he signed when at St Mary’s from FC Twente just over a year ago.
The 26-year-old made 15 Premier League appearances for the Saints last season under Koeman and scored a memorable goal on his first Premier League start in the 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal on Boxing Day.
But he is yet to feature for the club this season and Koeman wants Martina to follow him to Everton to provide competition for first choice right-back Seamus Coleman.
Saints signed Frenchman Jeremy Pied to do battle with regular right-back Cedric Soares earlier this month and may be prepared to let Martina go.