SUNDERLAND are one of a number of Premier League clubs tracking Nottingham Forest youngster Jamaal Lascelles.
The Black Cats, along with Spurs and Aston Villa, have been watching the 20-year-old over recent weeks after his promotion into the Forest first-team.
England Under-20 international Lascelles has made nine appearances for Forest this season, with the centre-half under contract at the City Ground until the summer of 2016.
The 6ft 2in defender had nine games on loan at Stevenage in the 2011/12 season, including playing in both legs of the League One play-off semi-final defeat against Sheffield United.
Sunderland have been looking to sign some of the Continent’s most promising youngsters over recent months to boost the options in the club’s Under-21 squad, with a view to developing them.
El-Hadji Ba, Charis Mavrias, David Moberg Karlsson and Duncan Watmore all arrived at the Stadium of Light during the summer, while Dundee United defender John Souttar turned down the Black Cats in October after Sunderland had agreed a fee with the Scottish club.
If Sunderland made a move for Lascelles, he would fall into that category, rather than offering an immediate option in the Premier League.
Derby-born Lascelles would not come cheap, although it is thought that Forest would be prepared to sell if the price was right.
Arsenal saw a £5million offer rejected for the then 17-year-old in 2011 when a number of the Premier League’s heavyweights, including Tottenham and Liverpool were keeping a close eye on him.
And Forest are one of the few Championship outfits with deep pockets, thanks to the backing of Kuwaiti owner Fawaz Al Hasawi.