Sunderland are plotting to do more business in Scotland in the future, according to a report.
The Black Cats are keen to bring in Scotland's finest talents and they have identified McGhee as someone who could fit in with the squad well.
The defender is highly regarded by Hearts, but the lack of financial strength that Scottish clubs have mean that they have little power to keep their biggest stars when Premier League clubs come calling.
Sunderland are looking to take advantage of this fact and believe that they can pick up a number of quality signings from Scotland in the future by extending their scouting in the country.
McGhee is currently playing in the second-tier of Scottish football so any move would be a big step up, but there are still high hopes for his future.
The Black Cats are also thought to be interested in John Souttar of Dundee United and could make a further move for him in January, after their attempts failed over the summer.
They also have strong connections with the Scotland international set-up, with former manager Ricky Sbragia in-charge of the under-19's.
They are hoping to utilise this link well and be tipped off about any star that is coming through at the moment.
All reports currently suggest that Lewis Macleod of Rangers is the hottest property in the Scotland youth set-up, but there is no indication of Sunderland's interest as yet.