Apparently Pardew has had talks with Mike Ashley and the Toon owner will put up £5million in a January swoop for the 28-year-old Welsh star.
But . Sunderland are ready to enter the race, with Martin O’Neill having worked with Collins when he was Villa boss.
O’Neill signed the central defender from West Ham in 2009.
Although Collins recently spoke of his desire to extend his stay at Villa, Pardew and O’Neill believe they can tempt him to the north east.