Sunderland have been granted permission to discuss a deal to sign long-time target Sulley Muntari.
The Inter Milan midfielder, who spent the 2007-08 season in the Barclays Premier League with Portsmouth, is expected to move to the Stadium of Light on loan until the end of the season if the talks go well.
Muntari had also been linked with Liverpool and Tottenham during the current transfer window.
Muntari has been out of favour at Inter this season under successive coaches Rafael Benitez and Leonardo, making just 12 appearances and only one Serie A start.
He requested a transfer earlier this month from the Nerazzurri, where he has won two successive Scudetti and added last season's Coppa Italia and Champions League.
He would join Ghana team-mates Asamoah Gyan and John Mensah in manager Steve Bruce's squad should he complete his move to Wearside.
Muntari has made 56 appearances for his country, scoring 17 goals,