West Ham United are ready to activate an £18 million release clause in Sunderland defender Lamine Kone’s contract, according to The Mirror.

The Hammers are in dire straits ahead of their next Premier League clash with Liverpool and are facing the potential of a relegation battle this season.

Kone has impressed in the North East since joining the Stadium of Light outfit in January and played an essential role in Sunderland avoiding the drop last season.

The report suggests that the Ivorian enforcer has an £18 million release clause in his deal with David Moyes’ men and the Hammers are ready to pay it to bring him to London.

Meanwhile, West Ham are also being linked with an ambitious move to sign Manchester City outcast Joe Hart, as reported in The Telegraph.

The England international was relegated to fringe status by Pep Guardiola and is currently on loan at Torino.

However, the Hammers could well offer Hart a chance to prove himself in the Premier League again next season – but only if Slaven Bilic’s men beat the drop this term.

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