Sunderland are close to completing a deal for Senegalese defender Kader Mangane, manager Martin O'Neill has confirmed.
The 29-year-old is expected to agree personal terms before joining Sunderland on loan from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal until the end of the season, with a view to making the move permanent in the summer.
If Mangane does join the Black Cats he will become their second signing of the transfer window after Alfred N'Diaye joined from Bursaspor last week.
"As we speak we think we're pretty close to sorting it out," O'Neill told reporters of the Mangane deal.
"It is almost there but not just yet.
"We're short of players at the moment and what I'm hoping he will bring is competition for places which is pretty important at any football club.
"But we have had a few injuries at this time of year and you don't want to leave yourself short.
"He is prepared to come and battle for places in the team so that's encouraging.
"We're just adding competition for places and that will make us a bit more healthy."