Out of contract Dutch defender Ron Vlaar is attracting interest from a host of clubs - including Sunderland and Newcastle United.
Both North East sides are keeping tabs on the situation, with Vlaar’s contract at Aston Villa due to expire at the end of this month.
Turkish giants Besiktas, Everton and West Ham United have been linked, while Serie A could also be a destination for the no-nonsense centre-back.
Vlaar is yet to commit his future to Tim Sherwood’s Villa, with both Newcastle and Sunderland looking to strengthen their respective defences.
Sunderland have been courting West Ham United full-back Carl Jenkinson and Leeds United right-back Sam Byram, while Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates is expected to sign for £4m..
But head coach Dick Advocaat could add Vlaar too, especially with his fellow Dutchman available on a free.
Speaking to Voetbal International ahead of Holland’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Latvia, Vlaar said: “I have in consideration [a new deal], I think about it.
“I want to maximize my career and think I can go a step higher.
“I will look at it [before deciding].”
Whether a move to either Steve McClaren’s Newcastle or the Black Cats would be seen as a “step higher” is open to debate.
But the 30-year-old Dutchman - who starred for Holland in last summer’s World Cup in Brazil - would certainly add some much-needed steel to both defences.