Skysports.com understands Sunderland are in talks with Lucas Neill regarding a possible move to the Stadium of Light.
The Australia international is a free agent after his contract with West Ham United expired at the end of last season.
Gianfranco Zola is keen to re-sign Neill and it was reported an agreement could have been struck by Monday, but the Hammers boss may see the deal hijacked.
Neill is understood to have been at Sunderland's hotel in Peterborough ahead of Tuesday's pre-season friendly with the freshly-promoted Championship outfit.
Discussions are said to have taken place between the 31-year-old and the Black Cats, who are rebuilding under new manager Steve Bruce this summer.