SUNDERLAND know that they face potential opposition from Premier League rivals for the signature of Fiorentina left-back Marcos Alonso.
But they are also aware that the Italian outfit might ultimately decide against selling the 23-year-old who impressed on loan at the Stadium of Light after signing in January.
The Black Cats will play a waiting game this summer for a player who boss Gus Poyet would love to have back at Sunderland next season.
But West Ham United have already made an inquiry about a player who was central to Sunderland’s Great Escape, only to be rebuffed by the Italian outfit.
And Fiorentina are expected to hang on to the defender until pre-season at least in order to re-assess a player they had all but given up on before his move to Sunderland.
The former Bolton player, who was at the Reebok Stadium from 2010 until the spring of 2013, when the Trotters were relegated, had initially failed to make an impression at the Serie A outfit.
But his efforts at Sunderland have left the Italians wondering whether he does have a future at the Stadio Artemio Franchi and they are no longer in a rush to offload.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has registered an interest.
But Sunderland are hopeful that a player who thoroughly enjoyed his time at the Stadium of Light this year will be happy to return if Fiorentina decide to let him leave again.
* Sunderland winger Adam Johnson has been linked with Liverpool and a potential swap move which would see Fabio Borini heading in the opposite direction.
Gus Poyet would have love to have the Italian striker back on Wearside next season, while rumours have started to circulate that the Black Cats would listen to offers for £10million signing Johnson.
Both Hull and Everton have been linked with a loan move for the former England winger, but a far more likely possibility would be the ex-Manchester City man moving to Anfield with Borini potentially coming into the frame as part of the deal.