NEWCASTLE United have bid for Wigan Athletic striker Arouna Kone, according to reports.
The 29-year-old has a £5m buy-out clause in his contract.
And Roberto Martinez – who left Wigan to succeed David Moyes at Everton this summer – had been expected to sign his former player.
However, a report on the Sports Direct News website – Newcastle owner Mike Ashley runs the sportswear firm – claimed United had made a “late entrance” into the race to sign Kone.
Wigan owner Dave Whelan this week told the Wigan Evening Post, that three clubs had bid for Kone, who is an Ivory Coast team-mate of Newcastle midfielder Cheik Tiote.
“Three clubs have made offers for Kone,” said Whelan.
“Everton is one, as he had a clause in his contract that he could go if someone paid £5m. I think he will go to Everton.”
United – who sold Demba Ba to Chelsea in January – are looking to sign a striker this summer.
The club this week lost out on Saint-Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is set to join Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund.
Newcastle yesterday sold utility player James Perch to Wigan, who were relegated to the Championship last season.