Sunderland are in advanced talks with Swedish international Ola Toivonen over a move to the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats have been linked with Toivonen throughout the summer after the 29-year-old played under Dick Advocaat at former club PSV Eindhoven.
But reports emerged earlier this week that French club Rennes had agreed a deal with Sunderland after he had been in talks over a loan switch to Greek side PAOK.
The Echo understands that Sunderland are indeed now in the midst of discussions over a permanent switch to the Stadium of Light, with Rennes keen to offload Toivonen, due to his hefty salary.
He did not train with the Brittany outfit today.
Toivonen, who has been capped 43 times by Sweden, is capable of operating as a striker or attacking midfielder, yet was primarily used in the latter role under Advocaat.
One of Advocaat’s main priorities for the last month has been to add a goal-scoring midfielder to Sunderland’s squad after missing out on Stewart Downing and then Leroy Fer.
But Sunderland’s interest in Toivonen will not necessarily spell the end of their pursuit for fellow midfielder Jonathan de Guzman.
A deal for de Guzman appeared all-but-dead on Monday night, when the Dutch international decided to reject Sunderland’s advances, despite the Black Cats agreeing a season-long loan, with a view to a permanent switch, with Italian side Napoli.
But de Guzman’s agent, Fabian Parisi, subsequently left a window of opportunity to Sunderland when he declared that the 27-year-old could still move to the Stadium of Light on loan, if there was no commitment to make the move permanent next summer.
Napoli have been urging de Guzman to reconsider too and held talks with Parisi today in an attempt to find a solution.
De Guzman, himself, has clearly been keeping his options open to see what interest materialises before the transfer deadline after holding talks with French side Marseille, while Bournemouth and Everton have also been linked to the former Swansea man.