Tottenham Hotspur are planning a surprise move for former Manchester United man John O'Shea and are willing to pay Sunderland £3 million for the versatile defender's services this summer.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the Republic of Ireland international has just 12 months to run on his existing contract at the Stadium of Light, and is being eyed by the north London club as a potential replacement for captain Michael Dawson.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is believed to be keen to lure O'Shea to White Hart Lane because of his ability to play in a variety positions. The 33-year-old centre-back is equally comfortable on either flank - an area of weakness in the current Tottenham squad - and has also been deployed in a more advanced midfield position in the past.
Will the Black Cats let him go?
Guus Poyet has been on the lookout for defensive reinforcements of his own this summer, and might be reluctant to let O'Shea leave Wearside ahead of the 2014/15 campaign. However, he will know that £3 million represents great value for the veteran stopper, and the money could be used to reinvest in the first-team squad before the transfer window closes at the end of August.
The Black Cats recently had a £4 million bid for Swansea City captain Ashley Williams rejected, but could return to South Wales with an improved offer should they conclude a deal for O'Shea.
Despite the fact it's surprising to see Tottenham linked with a move, O'Shea does boast experience of playing top European level football having enjoyed 12 years at Old Trafford, making 301 appearances for Manchester United under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson prior to his Sunderland transfer.
He joined the Black Cats in 2011, establishing himself as an important first-team player, and was one of Poyet's star performers alongside another ex-Red Devils star Wes Brown at the heart of defence, helping the club avoid relegation from the Premier League last season.
Pochettino has also been credited with an interest in a number of other central defensive options with Cardiff City's Steven Caulker linked with a possible return to north London.
Spurs have also been monitoring Sevilla full-back Alberto Moreno and Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand as they look to strengthen on the left side of defence before the start of pre-season.