Sunderland face an anxious wait to see if they can prise defender Richard Dunne away from Manchester City.
New boss Steve Bruce has been heavily linked with a Â£5million move for the 29-year-old Republic of Ireland international since his unveiling as Ricky Sbragia's replacement, despite heading straight off to resume his interrupted holiday.
Dunne has emerged as a target amid speculation big-spending City are eyeing Everton's Joleon Lescott and Arsenal's Kolo Toure this summer, but the Black Cats still do not know whether City manager Mark Hughes will be prepared to let the Dubliner leave Eastlands even if he does land his defensive targets.
And even if he is allowed to go, Sunderland are certain to face competition for a player who starred in his country's 1-1 draw in Bulgaria at the start of this month as they edged closer to next summer's World Cup finals.
In the circumstances, they are adopting a measured approach to their summer recruitment programme, which has already seen them touted as potential purchasers for a series of players in a variety of positions.
The acquisition of an experienced central defender to partner Â£8million signing Anton Ferdinand is a priority, with the former West Ham man having been made to pay for a series of lapses in concentration during his first season on Wearside.
Danny Collins did himself no harm once again last season whether asked to play in the middle or at left-back, although Bruce inherited a squad with little cover, with Nyron Nosworthy having missed the end of the campaign through injury and Paul McShane struggling to re-establish himself after returning from a loan spell at Hull.
Bruce has already been tipped to make a swift return to former club Wigan in an attempt to land Titus Bramble, a man who was pilloried during his time with arch-rivals Newcastle, while another Magpies old boy, Sylvain Distin, has also been mentioned in dispatches.
In addition, Frenchman Sebastien Bassong, who for the moment at least remains on the books at St James' Park, has indicated his representatives are in talks with two English clubs over a possible move, although both Arsenal and Tottenham have also been credited with having an interest in him.
He is one of the men prospective Newcastle boss Alan Shearer had hoped to keep, although the ongoing uncertainty over both his future and the club's ownership are not helping.
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