Aberdeen hope to scupper Sunderland's Â£200k bid for Jason Naismith after player-plus-cash offer
Aberdeen are hoping to beat Sunderland to the signing of Jason Naismith, after making a fresh offer for the full-back.
Ross County defender Naismith has emerged as a key target for Jack Ross as he looks to rebuild Sunderland's squad ahead of their League One assault.
The Black Cats have serious competition for the Scot, with reports north of the border claiming Peterborough have matched their £200,000 bid.
The biggest threat could come from Aberdeen, however, with the Dons hopeful of pipping the English sides to Naismith's signature through the lure of European football and the chance to win international honours.
Naismith is valued at a minimum of £250,000 by Ross County, with the Staggies resigned to losing their star player after a disappointing season resulted in relegation from the SPL.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is an admirer of the right-back, and is set to offer a player-plus-cash deal to land the 23-year-old. Midfielder Greg Tansey could be offered as a makeweight in the deal after he spent last season on loan at County.
The Dons are also playing in Europe next season, which McInnes hopes will prove a further attraction to Naismith.
Sunderland boss Ross has drawn up a list of targets, with defenders at the top of his list. The release of John O'Shea, Marc Wilson and Billy Jones, plus the return of Jake Clarke-Salter, Brendan Galloway and Ty Browning to their parent clubs after loan spells means the Black cats squad is thin on experienced defenders.
Only Lamine Kone, Papy Djilobodji, Bryan Oviedo and Adam Matthews remain on the books, and the first three at least could all move on this summer.
Ross has identified Naismith, one of the most promising young defenders in Scotland, as someone who could boost his side, having worked with the player for three months at St Mirren.
Fellow Scot Clark Roberston - available on a free transfer at Blackpool - is also someone Sunderland have scouted.