Sunderland have had a £2.5million bid for Danny Higginbotham accepted by Championship club Stoke City.
The 28-year-old Potters captain has 'reluctantly' been given permission to speak to the Black Cats.
Higginbotham played alongside Sunderland boss Roy Keane at Manchester United prior to leaving Old Trafford in 2000 to join Derby County, before moving on to Southampton and then Stoke.
Earlier in the summer, Stoke offered Higginbotham improved terms in a bid to stave off interest from the Premier League club, but have now given up hope of persuading their captain to remain at the Britannia Stadium.
"We have rejected two transfer offers from Sunderland since their interest became apparent in the summer," read a Stoke statement.
"It was made clear to Danny that we very much wanted him to stay and he was made two new contract offers, the last one being a new four-year contract.
"Danny has now submitted a written transfer request and has stated that he no longer feels he can be committed to the club.
"As a result of this, the club has given the player permission to speak to Sunderland following receipt of a third offer.
"We are hugely disappointed to lose Danny, however, it is difficult to keep a player who no longer wants to play for you."