Everton’s £18million pursuit of Sunderland defender Lamine Kone may hurry up following his transfer request – but Phil Jagielka won’t be heading in the opposite direction.
David Moyes had been linked with a reunion with his former skipper, should Kone depart for Merseyside.
But Toffees boss Ronald Koeman has ruled out ex-Sheffield United star Jagielka leaving Goodison Park, saying there is “no way” the 33-year-old will be allowed to go.
Sunderland – who have completed the signings of young Manchester United duo Paddy McNair and Donald Love for a combined £5.5million – would need to replace Kone despite the arrival of Papy Djilobodji from Chelsea.
McNair broke onto the scene as a centre-back, but his favoured position is central midfield, while Love is a full-back who can also operate in midfield.
It comes as Sunderland are reported to be weighing up a move for Blackburn Rovers centre-back Shane Duffy.
The 24-year-old Republic of Ireland international is a wanted man with West Brom and Celtic monitoring him.
Rovers, who recently sold Grant Hanley to Newcastle United, are understood to have offered Duffy an improved contract offer in a bid to ward off interest.
Koeman declined to comment on Kone at his weekly press conference, but he confirmed Everton “will do business for three or four more players”.
The Toffees moved quickly to sign Ashley Williams for £9million from Swansea City after selling England international John Stones to Manchester City for £47.5million.
But Koeman wants another centre-back, with Kone top of his wanted list.
When asked about Jagielka, Koeman said: “He is the captain of the team.
“I need four good centre-backs. There is no way that Jags will leave the club.”
In an ironic twist, Newcastle United’s loan move for Everton left-back Brendan Galloway could be delayed until after the Huddersfield Town match tomorrow as a result of the ongoing Kone situation.
Sources on Merseyside suggest Everton will not allow their man to leave until the Blues have agreed a deal for Kone, to ensure they aren’t left short defensively.