While Atletico Madrid defender Toby Alderweireld has recently been linked to the likes of Arsenal, Monaco and Southampton, reports in Belgium now claim that Sunderland are close to a deal for the Belgian international.
According to newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, the two clubs have come to an agreement over a season-long loan move and, although Alderweireld has still to agree to personal terms, a deal is said to be imminent.
The centre-back-cum-right-back, 25, moved to Atletico last summer after impressing with Ajax in Eredivisie, but found it hard to break into the team ahead of first-choice pairing Diego Godin and Miranda, making just 12 league appearances, and leading to his father pleading with the Spanish champions to let his son leave.
Both Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool were also mentioned as potential suitors for the 37-times capped World Cup veteran earlier this summer, while Southampton were said to be leading the race to his signature just this week.
However, despite growing frustrated in his efforts to sign Liverpool striker Fabio Borini, Black Cats boss Gus Poyet has, in the meantime, made it his mission to secure his other main transfer targets, with Alderweireld one of the names at the top of the list.
With Inter Milan playmaker Ricky Alvarez also set to arrive at the Stadium of Light on loan, the pair would become the club’s seventh and eighth summer signings, respectively, following in the footsteps of Billy Jones, Jordi Gomez, Costel Pantillimon, Patrick van Aanholt, Jack Rodwell and, most recently, Will Buckley.
Poyet remains hopeful of further bolstering his squad before the close of the transfer window, however, and, as well as Borini, Danny Welbeck, Salomon Kalou and Micah Richards all have been tipped as potential targets.