Roy Keane fears Sunderland face a fight to sign Jonny Evans from Manchester United for a third time.
Evans has spent spells on loan at the Stadium of Light during the past two seasons and is wanted back on Wearside.
The Northern Ireland defender is yet to establish himself in the United squad, but has been given pre-season to impress his current boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sunderland chief Keane is a huge fan of Evans and would relish the opportunity to sign the youngster on a permanent basis.
However, Keane appears to be pessimistic about his prospects of persuading United to sell the versatile stopper.
"Jonny is under contract and I certainly don't want to go into conversation about players who are under contract at clubs," Keane told the Sunderland Echo.
"Other managers do it and that annoys me. If we want to get a player and we want to speak to a player, you have got to do a deal with the club.
"It was the same last year. We all know Jonny is a top player and in an ideal world, you would like to bring him to your club.
"But he is not at a bad club in Man United, is he? And Man United certainly don't need the money."