Skysports.com understands Sunderland made a late move to sign Ryan Babel from under the noses of Hoffenheim.
Babel is poised to seal his move from Liverpool to Hoffenheim later this week after flying to Germany for talks with the Bundesliga club.
However, it has emerged Sunderland made a late entry into the race for the Dutchman as they looked to hijack his switch to Hoffenheim.
Sunderland are in the market for striking reinforcements having sold Darren Bent to Aston Villa and they are thought to have made an enquiry for Babel.
But they left their swoop too late to land Babel as the former Ajax man had already agreed a deal with Hoffenheim with the Germans offering the 24-year-old a lucrative deal to move to Germany.
Sunderland are thought to be chasing for Stoke's Ricardo Fuller and Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko as they look to fill the void left by Bent's departure to Aston Villa.