Sunderland would have to fork out £3million to land Bournemouth’s Max Gradel if a deal on a loan agreement can’t be reached.
Manager Simon Grayson is keen to be reunited with the 29-year-old winger having worked with him at Leeds United.
The Echo understands that the Black Cats are pushing hard for a loan with an option for a permanent deal, but the Premeir League Cherries would prefer a permanent deal for the Ivory Coast international.
That would cost in the region of £3million, with the Black Cats – in desperate need of attacking players – weighing up their options.
Everton defender Brendan Galloway is the only new face so far, although deals for Toffees teammates Tyias Browning and Aiden McGeady are very close.
Grayson, speaking after last night’s 3-2 win over Bury, said Sunderland are speaking to a lot of clubs and agents in the hope of pushing through deals.
The Black Cats boss was coy when pressed on transfer targets aside from the Everton duo, but he admitted the need to bolster numbers is clear.
“Hopefully, with a few more additions, you will see a squad taking place,” said Grayson.
“It is quite clear we are short in wide areas and strikers too, so hopefully we get additions in that area.
“We are talking to a lot of other clubs and agents about a lot of other players as well.
“I will have to let you know. You will find I don’t give too much away!”
Gradel has also played for Leicester City, Bournemouth and Leeds on loan before signing a permanent deal at Elland Road in 2010.
He then moved on to Saint-Etienne before the Cherries bought him back to England two years ago, but he has struggled for first-team football and is open to a move.
Clubs in France and Turkey are tracking him, but his preference is understood to remain in England, with Sunderland in a strong position if a deal can be agreed.
Grayson has already said Sunderland have a “realistic” budget and he was asked again about the money available to him.
The experienced former Preston boss said the key is to spend it wisely.
“We’ve got a little bit of money to spend,” added Grayson.
“We haven’t got the biggest budget, but we won’t have the smallest either – so spend it wisely.
“At this moment in time, it is about getting the right bodies in.
“I will spend money if I need to, but also (look at) the loan and the free market.”