Sunderland have agreed a deal with Lazio for central defender Modibo Diakite.
Press Association Sport understands the two clubs have reached agreement over a fee for the France-born 26-year-old.
The Black Cats are yet to confirm the swoop, but the news is further evidence of manager Paolo Di Canio's determination to rebuild the squad he inherited from Martin O'Neill as quickly as possible.
Teenage Altrincham striker Duncan Watmore has already been added to the development squad, while Sunderland are understood to have completed much of the groundwork for swoops for Basle midfielder Cabral and Martimo defender Valentin Roberge.
Defence will be a particular focus for Di Canio this summer with Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon due to formally part company with the club when their contracts expire at the end of next month, loan signing Danny Rose having returned to Tottenham and Phil Bardsley's future uncertain after his infamous casino incident.
Di Canio is also closing in on a move to appoint Inter Milan's Valentino Angeloni as his new head of scouting.
The Black Cats recently dispensed with the services of the vastly-experienced Bryan "Pop" Robson, and it is understood that Angeloni is being lined up as his replacement.
Di Canio has wasted little time in recruiting his own staff having arrived at the Stadium of Light along with assistant manager Fabricio Piccareta and goalkeeping coach Domenico Doardo, and compatriot Roberto De Fanti is expected to take on the role of director of football.
Angeloni was himself a professional player and made more than 350 career appearances after coming through the ranks at Sampdoria.
He went on to work at Cremona, Torino and Udinese, but moved to Inter in March last year to head up the club's scouting set-up.