New Everton manager Roberto Martinez looks set to make his first signings at the club with reports of a deal being agreed to bring Arouna Kone and Antolin Alcaraz from his former club Wigan.
A deal is believed to have been agreed for the transfer of Kone, with a fee in the region of £6.5 million thought to have triggered talks between Martinez and his former boss Dave Whelan.
Kone netted 13 times under Martinez last season, and he is keen to remain under the tutelage of the Spaniard, along with Alcarez who is available on a free transfer.
Martinez wants to complete his summer activity early as he returns from commentating on ESPN’s coverage of the Confederations Cup, with the belief that a full pre-season with the Toffee’s will benefit the player’s introduction to the squad.
With David Moyes taking coaches Steve Round, Chris Woods and Jimmy Lumsden with him to Old Trafford, Martinez’s next task will be holding on to left-back Leighton Baines, with an offer for the England international having already been rejected.
Martinez wants to sit down with Baines to discuss his future and convince him that his future lies with Everton, though should a larger offer come in from Manchester United, chairman Bill Kenwright will have his resilience tested to the extreme limits.
Manchester United favourite-turned Sky pundit Gary Neville admitted his admiration of Baines due to his consistency and his high performance levels for the last few years.
“I’ve seen a lot of the speculation over the last few days about Leighton,” he said. “He had a fantastic season last year and was brilliant for Everton.
“He’s been a great performer for the last few years and it’s inevitable that he will be linked with the top clubs in the Premier League.”
Can Arouna Kone improve Everton's options upfront?
- Kone has scored 13 goals in 38 appearances for Wigan in the 2012/13 season
- He has 9 international goals in 39 appearance for the Ivory Coast
- He scored 14 times in 35 matches on loan at Levante
- However, Kone only scored 1 goal in 40 appearances for Sevilla during a 5 year spell
- During a 2 year spell at Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, Kone scored 21 in 53 appearances