Sunderland are one of several clubs keeping tabs on Manchester City midfielder Seko Fofana, according to reports in France.
Fofana, 20, made 25 appearances during a six-month loan spell with Championship club Fulham this season – including both of the Cottagers’ FA Cup fourth round encounters with Sunderland.
The Parisian is expected to continue his development out on loan next season, with more than half-a-dozen sides vying for his signature.
Speculation in France has suggested they include Sunderland, West Brom, Bolton, French pair Marseille and Caen, plus clubs in the Spanish and Dutch leagues.
Fofana, himself, is open to another loan switch after realising that his chances at City will be limited.
“I want to continue to play regularly to progress,” he said last month.
“But it’s one of my objectives to play for the first team (at City) in the future.”
Sunderland expect to be in the market to boost their central midfield options this summer, albeit that area should be boosted by the return to fitness of Emanuele Giaccherini after the Italian spent much of last season on the treatment table.
The Black Cats are also ready to make the most of the domestic loan market after only bringing in Sebastian Coates from a Premier League rival last season.
Meanwhile, non-league Boston United are hopeful of re-signing rookie Sunderland keeper Max Stryjek after the 18-year-old spent the final two months of last season with the Conference North outfit.
“We’re going to try and do that, but nothing will happen for a while,” said Boston boss Dennis Greene.
“It won’t be until pre-season when they’ll assess what they’re going to do.”
Sunderland are likely to be open to letting Stryjek leave on loan again, with fellow academy product Jordan Pickford, plus Vito Mannone, providing back-up to Costel Pantilimon, albeit there are question marks over Mannone’s future at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats also have promising Republic of Ireland Under-17 international James Talbot coming through the ranks, with the teenager beginning his first year as a professional next season.