Sam Allardyce is looking to sign a new centre-back in January - and Bayern Munich defender Jan Kirchhoff is the latest to be linked.
Reports in the German press suggest Sunderland scouts have been taking a keen interest in versatile Kirchhoff, who stands at 6ft 5in.
Comfortable with the ball at his feet and a strong header of the ball, Kirchhoff has previously played for Mainz and had a spell on loan at Schalke.
Described as a "defensive all-rounder" in the German press, the 25-year-old's contract runs out next summer.
He is capable of playing at centre-back or in a defensive midfield position.
Allardyce only has three central defenders to call on at the moment, with John O'Shea, Sebastian Coates and Younes Kaboul favoured in the 3-5-2 formation.
Veteran Wes Brown has made just one appearance this term, while right-back Billy Jones has also featured at centre-back on occasion but has struggled.
Allardyce is looking to sign a central defender and centre-forward when the January transfer window opens.