Skysports.com understands Sunderland are in talks to sign Hamburg defender Guy Demel.
Black Cats boss Steve Bruce has made a new right-back one of his main priorities and he has identified Demel as his top target.
Demel had a brief spell at Arsenal, spending one season in North London without making an appearance in the first team, before moving to Borussia Dortmund.
The 28-year-old has impressed in the Bundesliga and Bruce is now ready to take him to the North East in this month's transfer window.
Demel's agent is undertstood to be on Wearside holding talks with Sunderland officials with the Black Cats prepared to offer the Ivory Coast ace a three-and-a-half year deal to make the move to the Stadium of Light.
Talks between both parties are believed to be at an advanced stage and Sunderland are ready to push through a deal despite the player being away at the African Cup of Nations.