Sunderland are weighing up a bid for exciting French youngster Sehrou Guirassy.
The Black Cats have had the 19-year-old striker – one of the hottest prospects in France – watched recently as they look to bolster their squad ahead of the start of the new season.
But they may have to move quickly, with Tottenham Hotspur, Leeds United and French duo Lille and St Etienne also linked with the teenager.
Guirassy, who plays in Ligue 2 for Stade Laval, scored seven times in his first full season for his club, and caught the eye with some powerful performances.
The 6ft 2in forward burst into the Laval team in the 2013-14 campaign with some eye-catching cameos, but established himself as a regular in the first XI last season.
Sunderland scouts were in attendance for France Under-19s’ game against DR Congo this week, in which Guirassy scored in a 2-0 victory.
I would not close the door on going abroad.Sehrou Guirassy
And reports in France claim the Black Cats have contacted the player’s agent about a possible transfer.
Guirassy is considered a prospect for the future, and not necessarily someone who would go straight into Dick Advocaat’s first team squad.
However, Sunderland director of football Lee Congerton is looking to bolster the Under-21 set-up as well as the first team, with the club concerned at the lack of youngsters progressing from the academy.
The likes of Duncan Watmore, George Honeyman and Tom Robson were on the fringes of the squad last season without being able to make the breakthrough.
Guirassy is believed to have the pace and power to adapt to playing in England, and is open to a switch abroad, though he would prefer to continue his development in him homeland for now.
He said recently: “First, I would like to rise up the ranks in France, joining a Ligue 1 club. After that, I would not close the door on going abroad.”