David Moyes is attempting his first foray into the January transfer window - with a £10 million-plus bid for Robbie Brady.
The gifted Norwich midfielder is also the subject of interest from Crystal Palace and Leicester so Sunderland could face a battle top land the highly-rated 24-year-old.
If the Black Cats are flexing some transfer muscle it spells good news for the Wearside faithful.
Last month, Sunderland’s chief executive, Martin Bain, made it plain that there would be no lavish spending once the window was open.
The Black Cats are heavily in debt, while there are issues over the wage bill.
It seemed if Moyes wanted to bring in a player or players he would have to sell first.
However, a tilt at Brady would suggest that is not the case given the manager has already rebuffed offers for Jermain Defoe and Patrick van Aanholt from West Ham and Crystal Palace.
Sunderland desperately need strengthening.
The injury list at the Stadium of Light is colossal with Victor Anichebe, Lee Cattermole, Lynden Gooch, Jan Kirchhoff, Jordan Pickford, Steven Pienaar and Duncan Watmore all sidelined.
Throw in the fact that Wahbi Khazril, Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong are all away at the Africa Cup of Nations and Moyes is down to the bare bones.
Saturday’s home 3-1 defeat was not overly costly in the fight for safety but it highlighted the side’s deficiencies and a move for Brady is encouraging.
However, it could cost the Wearsiders more.
Norwich reportedly want £13million for the Republic of Ireland international, with former club Hull due a 25 per cent sell-on fee.
The Daily Mail is reporting Sunderland have tabled a £10million offer, but relegation rivals Leicester and Palace are both after him too.
The Foxes have just sold left-footer Jeff Schlupp to Palace for £12 million while the Eagles are backing Sam Allardyce with a January war-chest.
Brady would provide an attacking threat down the left side and he looked good in his time in the Premier League last year with the Canaries.