Newly-promoted Middlesbrough have been linked with a £5million move to re-sign Sunderland's longest-serving player Lee Cattermole.
On-field skipper Cattermole remained a hugely influential figure for Sunderland both on and off-the-pitch last season after steering the Black Cats to Premier League survival with a series of committed displays during the run-in following his return to the starting XI.
But there have been whispers in football circles for several weeks that Boro would be interested in trying to take Cattermole back to the Riverside if they returned to the Premier League.
Reports today have indicated that Boro are readying a £5m bid for Cattermole, who has another five years to run on his Sunderland contract after penning a new deal last summer.
Boro chairman Steve Gibson admitted last month that letting academy product Cattermole join Wigan in 2008 was one of his biggest mistakes after the midfielder made his debut for his hometown club aged just 17.
Gibson said: "Lee was quite a character and needed to be managed quite strongly and I wish we never let Lee go, and one or two others we perhaps shouldn’t have let go at that time."
However, it would take a big offer to tempt Sam Allardyce into parting with the 28-year-old, who has been the Sunderland manager's chief lieutenant in the dressing room since his arrival at the Stadium of Light.
Allardyce is already facing a significant overhaul of the Sunderland squad this summer too, with a new central midfielder - plus the challenge of re-signing loanee Yann M'Vila - on the priority list.