Italian giants AC Milan have been linked with a shock swoop for Sunderland defender Sebastian Coates.
Reports in Italy claim the Serie A side have identified Coates as a possible January transfer target as they look to bolster their defensive ranks.
The 26-year-old is on loan from the Black Cats to Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon, where he has made 10 league appearances this season.
Coates made just 31 appearances for Sunderland after joining from Liverpool, initially on a season-long loan and then in a permanent £2million deal.
However, he was deemed surplus to requirements at the start of last season by Sam Allardyce, joining Sporting on loan in January and then having the deal extended this campaign.
The Portuguese outfit have the option to make the deal permanent in the summer but Milan chief executive Marco Fassone and sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli watched the player take on Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, and could make a £5million bid for the centre-half.