Sunderland have denied reports they have already signed John Mensah, but believe the season-long loan deal will go through next week.
Steve Bruce is eager to tie up a deal for the Ghana World Cup captain, who was on loan from Lyon at the Stadium of Light last term and made 18 appearances.
Speculation has recently suggested the Black Cats have been successful in their bid to secure a return for the defender, but the club insist it is not a done deal just yet.
"A number of reports have been published suggesting Mensah has already signed, but officials have revealed the deal has not yet been completed," said a report on the club's official website.
But the club confirmed the deal "has almost been secured" and it is believed a work permit now just needs to be secured.
Mensah returned to parent club Lyon following his stay at the Stadium of Light and went on to earn plaudits as Ghana flew the flag for Africa at the World Cup, eventually going out on penalties to Uruguay in the quarter-finals.