Sunderland are in talks with several transfer targets, but Bayern Munich defender Jan Kirchhoff is yet to pen a contract at the Stadium of Light.
Sam Allardyce is eager to add to his squad before Sunderland return to Premier League action at Swansea next week, but the Black Cats are not yet in the position where they are on the verge of rubber-stamping any new arrivals.
Reports in Germany have indicated that Kirchhoff has agreed an 18-month deal at Sunderland after just a solitary appearance for the Bundesliga outfit this season.
Sunderland have been in talks for several weeks over the central defender, and he is understood to be one of the three faces that the club have been targeting, along with Lorient’s Lamine Kone.
But while Sunderland are making progress on a deal for Kirchhoff, it is understood that he has not yet put pen to paper on a contract with the Black Cats.
However, Bayern are happy to let the 25-year-old leave, with his contract expiring in the summer and Sunderland ready to pay out a modest fee around the £750,000 mark.
Kirchhoff - who spent last season on loan at Schalke - has had his injury problems, but he would reinforce Allardyce’s options in central defence, with Younes Kaboul sidelined for another six weeks.
If Sunderland can complete a deal, it won’t necessarily signal the end of their interest in Kone.
However, the move for the Ivory Coast international appears to have stalled after Sunderland agreed a fee for the 26-year-old last week.
Meanwhile, Sunderland continue to be linked with a move for QPR midfielder Sandro.
The Brazilian remains on the books of last season’s Premier League basement boys, with QPR keen to move on the ex-Spurs frontman who is on big wages.
Allardyce has been keen to strengthen the spine of his side, albeit a centre-forward has been next on his hit-list behind a new central defender.
But while Sunderland would be able to offer Sandro a route back to the Premier League, the Black Cats need to lighten the load on their own wage bill with the club close to its salary limits.