Sky Sports News understands Sunderland have been given permission to talk with Sulley Muntari.
It is reported that an approach from the Black Cats has been given the green light by Inter Milan, with the player and his agent now on their way to England to discuss personal terms.
Sunderland are hoping to put a deal in place which will see Ghanaian midfielder Muntari move to the Stadium of Light on an initial loan deal.
That switch could then be made permanent at the end of the season if both sides are willing to prolong their association.
Muntari will need no introduction to Sunderland supporters should he sign, with a season-long stay at Portsmouth in 2007/08 seeing him help the club to FA Cup glory.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports also understands that Sunderland's efforts to land Stephane Sessegnon are close to collapse.
It was believed that Steve Bruce was closing in on the Paris St Germain midfielder, but any move has now hit a stumbling block and appears unlikely.