Sunderland are ready to step up their interest in Aston Villa defender Habib Beye before the transfer window closes on Monday.
Black Cats boss Steve Bruce confirmed his interest in Beye earlier this month as he searches for a new right-back.
Bruce had targeted a deal for Hamburg defender Guy Demel, but the Ivory Coast international has opted to stay with the Bundesliga club until the end of the season.
Beye is now in Bruce's sights with the Senegal international failing to hold down a regular place in the Villa side this season since his arrival from Newcastle.
Bruce is now waiting to see if Villa will allow Beye to move on just six months after joining the club.
Sunderland are also believed to be keeping tabs on Tottenham's Alan Hutton as an alternative to Beye.