Sunderland target Clement Chantome is in advanced talks with two Premier League clubs, as he closes in on a Bosman move from France.
Midfielder Chantome was watched on several occasions by Sunderland scouts during the second half of last season and is a free agent after rejecting the offer of a new contract at Bordeaux.
The 28-year-old has also been linked with Premier League new boys Middlesbrough and Everton, with interest from Spanish side Malaga fading over recent weeks.
But the Echo understands that Chantome has now narrowed down his discussions to just two Premier League clubs, ahead of his Bordeaux contract formally coming to an end in a fortnight.
Sources close to the player have refused to confirm that Sunderland are one of that pair, yet Chantome – who made more than 150 appearances for PSG after coming through the ranks with the French giants – would fit the bill in the Black Cats’ search for a new central midfielder.
Boss Sam Allardyce is keen to bring in another player in the middle of the park – in addition to last season’s loanee Yann M’Vila – after the departure of Ola Toivonen and uncertainty over the future of Seb Larsson.
And Allardyce has been targeting the French market for new recruits after the success of Ligue 1 imports Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri in the January window.
Meanwhile, Sunderland’s bid to offload one of their unwanted central midfielders could be boosted by interest from Wigan in their former favourite Jordi Gomez.
The Spaniard was an ambitious target for then League One Wigan in January, before he decided to join Blackburn on loan for the rest of last season.
But with new Blackburn boss Owen Coyle giving no indication that he wants to sign Gomez permanently, Wigan have held talks over a move for the 31-year-old, who only has 12 months remaining on his Sunderland contract.
The challenge for Wigan will be to agree personal terms with Gomez, although Sunderland are not expected to demand a significant transfer fee for a player who has no future on Wearside.