ASTON Villa boss Alex McLeish will make a last-ditch attempt to scupper Sunderland's pursuit of Seb Larsson by making an 11th-hour approach to the out-of-contract winger.
The Black Cats have been leading the chase for Larsson and have held discussions with the Sweden international and his representatives.
A move to the Stadium of Light appeared imminent when Larsson's father confirmed contractual discussions were well underway at the weekend.
A final agreement has not been reached however, with the two sides yet to agree on the length of the deal, and having been formally unveiled as Aston Villa's new manager yesterday, McLeish is hoping to make a dramatic late move of his own.
The Villa boss worked with Larsson for almost four seasons at Birmingham City, and despite the midfielder's refusal to sign a new deal at St Andrews, the pair still enjoy a close relationship.
McLeish is resigned to losing Ashley Young this summer, with the England international expected to join Manchester United, and is keen to sign a winger capable of playing on either flank.
Despite spending most of his time on the right, Larsson would fit that bill and McLeish is understood to have made contact with the Swede in the last 24 hours.
Whether it is too late to persuade him to turn his back on Sunderland remains to be seen, but Villa would be prepared to match the contact offer made by the Black Cats last week.
Significantly, during his inaugural press conference as Villa boss yesterday, McLeish confirmed he would be willing to raid St Andrews for some of Birmingham's biggest stars.
"I know there are many good Blues players there, but the policy that I have always maintained is not to talk about other club's players," said McLeish.
"I'm getting bombarded with text messages off agents - we are just going to assess things at the moment.
"But if I thought a (Birmingham) player could improve Aston Villa Football Club, why not"
Interestingly, if Larsson commits to Sunderland, McLeish is expected to turn his attention to another of the Wearsider's summer transfer targets, Charles N'Zogbia.
The Scot attempted to sign N'Zogbia for Birmingham in January, only for the former Newcastle winger to remain at Wigan.
Sunderland's pursuit of N'Zogbia is being hampered by their refusal to meet Wigan's £12m asking price, a fee that would be well within Villa's reach if Young was to leave Villa Park.
Newcastle have also spoken to N'Zogbia's representatives, but the Magpies' capture of Sylvain Marveaux has all but ended their interest.