Sunderland have made a late move to pip relegation rivals Aston Villa to the signing of ex-Newcastle United defender Mathieu Debuchy.
Sam Allardyce has been eager to add a right-back to his squad throughout the January transfer window, despite Sunderland already boasting three players in that position.
Sunderland have seen two approaches for Lorient's Lamine Gassama turned down by the Senegal international, who was unwilling to join a relegation-threatened club, despite his contract in France due to expire this summer.
But reports earlier today indicated that Sunderland have held talks with Arsenal over a loan move for Debuchy and the Echo understands that the France international IS firmly in the Black Cats' sights.
Debuchy joined Arsenal in a £12million move from Newcastle 18 months ago, but the 30-year-old has fallen behind Hector Bellerin in the pecking order and hasn't made a first-team appearance since November.
Villa have been in talks with Arsenal for several weeks over signing Debuchy on loan until the end of the season, yet Sunderland are aiming to hijack a move to the Premier League's basement boys.
Debuchy is keen to leave the Emirates to keep his hopes alive of being included in the France squad for the summer's European Championships by playing regular first-team football.
"Whatever happens, even if it is to return (to Arsenal) this summer and then start again, I have to go this winter. I cannot stay at Arsenal," he said earlier this month.
"As the weeks go by, we get closer to the Euros. I have to play to try to return as soon as March for the Netherlands and Russia friendlies.
"I clearly lost six months. I would have preferred to leave last summer but the coach told me that I would have my chance. Ultimately, it was not the case."
Allardyce has been on the look-out for players who need to find a new club for the remainder of this season, to ensure they don't miss out on the Euro's.
And Sunderland still have one domestic loan available to them after DeAndre Yedlin was the only player to arrive in a temporary deal from one of their Premier League rivals last summer.
Yedlin, Billy Jones and Adam Matthews are all available to Allardyce as right-back options.
But Sunderland have explored the possibility of terminating Yedlin's loan deal early in this window, while Matthews could move to the Championship before next week's deadline.