Sunderland have seen an optimistic enquiry for Jermain Defoe knocked-back, according to reports.
The striker remains a fans' favourite on Wearside but looks unlikely to be making a return to the club - with a Premier League move more likely.
Defoe, 36, netted 37 times in 93 games during his time at the Stadium of Light after joining from Toronto in a deal which saw Jozy Altidore move in the other direction.
Now of Bournemouth, the striker has found first team opportunities hard to come by this season and hinted last week that he could pursue a temporary move away from the Vitality Stadium once the January transfer window opens.
And reports today suggest that Sunderland made an ambitious enquiry to the Cherries - but were ultimately unsuccessful.
The Sunday People claim that the Black Cats asked Bournemouth about Defoe's availability as they look to nail-down January targets.
But TeamTalk have reported that the approach was knocked-back with the striker likely to join Premier League side Crystal Palace, who themselves are desperate for attacking reinforcements.
If true, it would not be the first time Sunderland have re-visited a move for Defoe - with owner Stewart Donald admitting that the club had made a 'cheeky' approach for the former Tottenham Hotspur star in the summer.
Speaking at the time, the Sunderland chief hinted at the fact a deal could be re-visited.
"I asked in the summer if we could and the answer came we couldn’t," he said, speaking to BBC Newcastle
"We might ask again but it was a pretty strong no. It was a cheeky request though!"
Defoe has also been linked with Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic during recent weeks, with a January move looking increasingly likely.