Everton today announced the signing of Ivorian striker Arouna Koné on a £5m three-year deal, as new manager Roberto Martinez steps up his attempts to build on foundations left behind by David Moyes.
"I feel delighted. I'm really happy about joining this team," said Kone.
"For me it is the fruition of work that has been going on for a month now. I'm really pleased to be here and I hope that everything goes well and I can have a great season for the club, just like I did last year with Wigan.
"For me it's an honour to be back working with the manager once again.
"We'll keep working hard to try and help the club achieve all of its goals."
With the club still determined that they will not allow Leighton Baines to depart for Manchester United, who may come in with a second £15m bid before leaving for their pre-season tour of Australia and the Far East, Martinez has seen off late competition from Newcastle United to secure the services of Koné, who was one of the bright lights of Wigan’s relegation season. Grant Holt appeared to be his replacement last night, with the Norwich striker en route to Wigan for a medical.
Martinez will reunite with the 29-year-old Koné, whom he signed for £2m from Levante in his native Spain, having been aware of his success with Sevilla before that. Koné scored 11 Premier League goals in his first season in England. The late intervention from Newcastle only briefly threatened the deal. Both clubs were given permission to talk to Koné after meeting the release clause in the three-year contract he signed at Wigan last summer.
The likelihood of Marouane Fellaini leaving Goodison this summer may impact on the club’s response to a second United bid for Baines. The club’s position remains that the left-back is not for sale and even a bid closer to £20m would not need to be accepted if Fellaini leaves for closer to £23m. The Belgian, who was Everton’s leading scorer last season with 12 goals, has a clause which would allow him to speak with any club that bids £23.5m. Despite their initial informal inquiries, Arsenal are yet to trigger the clause at this stage.
Martinez does not want to lose Fellaini, though there is an acceptance at the club that he will want to leave. The release clause is understood to expire in mid-August, though Everton will want to avoid losing a key player so late in the window.
Baines may have to put in a transfer request if he is to secure a move to United. The left-back may not be the priority for the champions, whose manager Moyes said last week that he may do some of his business late on.
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