Sunderland’s Cote d’Ivoire defender Lamine Koné has once again been linked with a transfer to West Ham United . With Sunderland struggling once again in the table, the 28 year old defender may be looking to move one if/when the Wearside club are relegated to the Championship. Koné was also part of the Cote d’Ivoire squad that failed to get out of the group stage of AFCON 2017, but he did not feature in any of the games.
Koné only joined Sunderland last January, and while he was linked to potential moves to Everton and West Ham last summer, he was apparently persuaded to stay at the Stadium of Light. His form down the stretch last season helped the Black Cats to stay up, but this season has been tough for everyone involved with Sunderland.
Now with Championship football staring the club in the face, they will likely try to shed some big money contracts, with old friend Jermain Defoe one of the players likely to move on. Defoe has been heavily linked with a return to West Ham this season, and opinion is divided on a return to East London for the Hammer youth product.
West Ham are literally so poor at the back. Even with a fully fit defence we've been poor this season— Billy ⚒ (@Adrian_SMDC) April 1, 2017
While it is usually strange business picking up defenders from a club that is moored to the bottom of the table, Koné is a quality player that could add flexibility and skill to the back line. The Hammers have allowed far too many goals this season, holding the 4th worst goals allowed in the Premier League this season. In fact, West Ham kept a clean sheet against Swansea for only the 9th time this season in all competitions, and only the 7th time in the league, and first since the 3-0 victory against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium back in January. For all of the struggles of Sunderland, they have actually allowed fewer goals (56) than West Ham have allowed (57) in the league this season.
With Jose Fonte struggling, James Collins not getting any younger, and Angelo Ogbonna recovering from surgery, Winston Reid is the only certain part of the West Ham backline for next season. Reece Oxford and Reece Burke, two young players who are currently out on loan, may factor into the first team next year, but Slaven Bilić seems reluctant to throw them into the fire so early in their careers. If the price isn’t outrageous, Koné may be good business for the Hammers to provide a boost in the defense.