LEEDS UNITED right-back Sam Byram IS thought to be a genuine target for Sunderland.
Reports over the weekend indicated that both Southampton and Sunderland had seen bids rejected for Byram, who was rated in the £8million bracket by Leeds 12 months ago.
It is unclear whether Sunderland have actually made a formal offer for Byram’s services, but the highly-rated 20-year-old is understood to be a player on the club’s radar.
Ex-Leeds assistant and Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has made it clear that he wants another full-back before the end of the transfer window, with Billy Jones and Patrick van Aanholt the only specialists at his disposal, albeit centre-half Santiago Vergini is comfortable at right-back.
And Byram, who has another two years to run on his Leeds contract, is regarded as one of the top prospects in the Championship, albeit he struggled with injuries last season.
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman confirmed over the weekend that they seen a bid rejected for Byram - mooted to be around the £4.5m mark - and was unsure whether they would up their offer.
Koeman said: “(Byram) was a player we had on the list and it’s true that we had a bid for him, yes. What I heard was that Leeds didn’t accept it.”
Sunderland are also in the market for a couple of loan signings before the end of the transfer window after shelling out £10m on Jack Rodwell and earmarking a further £14m for Liverpool striker Fabio Borini.
The Black Cats have been heavily linked with a six-month loan for Manchester City’s Argentine midfielder Bruno Zuculini, who was on the bench for yesterday’s Community Shield, at Wembley.
And reports yesterday suggested Sunderland were also interested in Tottenham winger Nacer Chadli.
Sunderland are reportedly keen to take the Belgian international on a season-long loan after he started just 15 league games for Spurs last season, following a £7million move from FC Twente.