Sunderland hope to secure the signature of Stoppila Sunzu in the summer.
The highly-rated Zambia international was heavily linked with Reading in the New Year, but the Royals were unable to land a deal to sign him.
However, it looks as though the defender could be on his way to the Premier League in the near future, with Martin O’Neill also expressing an interest.
The Black Cats manager knows he needs to bolster his defensive options ahead of next season, and he has made the 23-year-old a top target.
Sunzu is currently plying his trade for Congolese side TP Mazembe, who are demanding a fee of £4million to allow the 6ft 3in player to leave when the window reopens.