Sunderland are understood to be battling with Newcastle United for the £11m signature of PSV Eindhoven’s highly-rated midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.
Both Sky Sports and the Press Association are reporting the Black Cats have made an offer in excess of £11m for Wijnaldum.
The player has been identified by Magpies’ new head coach Steve McClaren as a key acquisition following his appointment earlier this month.
But he is facing competition from Sunderland, with PA reporting that Dick Advocaat has made contact with the Dutch club to register his interest in the 24-year-old Holland international, who scored 14 Eredivisie goals last season as PSV cruised to the title.
In the process, he has firmly thrown down the gauntlet to Newcastle and Lee Charnley, who has been charged with the task of doing the deals by owner Mike Ashley after identifying targets in a series of meetings with McClaren and chief scout Graham Carr.
It has proved a difficult few weeks for the man in day-to-day charge at St James’ Park, but having finally landed the head coach he initially wanted to replace Alan Pardew in January, he now faces the challenge of providing him with the signings needed to ensure there is no repeat of last season’s relegation struggles.
McClaren too is desperate to put in place his backroom team before his players return for pre-season training next month.
Paul Simpson, who worked under the former England boss at Derby, remains a target, while former Valencia assistant Ian Cathro is also interesting the Tyneside club.