Sunderland have held positive talks with Lille winger Salomon Kalou over a possible transfer to the Stadium of Light this summer, and could beat rival suitors Arsenal and Liverpool for the £4 million-rated star's signature.
The Daily Express reports how the 29-year-old forward is keen on a return to the Premier League, and Wearside now appears to be the Ivory Coast international's most likely destination following discussions with the Black Cats over the weekend.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of the former Chelsea man, who has a proven track record in England having contributed 60 goals and 44 assists during six successful years at Stamford Bridge.
However, one sticking point that has prevent a move to the Emirates is the player's wage demands, with Kalou currently earning £80,000-a-week at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Brendan Rodgers has also been mooted as an admirer of the African wide-man, but as Liverpool close in on a deal to bring Mario Balotelli to Anfield it's unlikely he'll rival Sunderland for his signature.
René Girard will be determined to keep Kalou at the club after he netted 16 goals and provided five assists for Lille in all competitions last season.
Premier League desire
But, with reports suggesting that the player wants to leave France and return to the Premier League, the Ligue 1 club might find it difficult to stand in Kalou's way if Sunderland make a formal offer.
The Daily Telegraph claims that Lille will demand £4 million for a forward they signed on a free transfer from Chelsea in 2012. It's a modest fee for any of Kalou's suitors, but also represents a tidy profit for the club that secured his services two years ago.