HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club that Sunderland are ready to make a big-money move for Wolves captain Danny Batth.
Batth has established himself as one of the best defenders outside of the Premier League after impressing in the last couple of seasons at Molineux.
The 23-year-old helped Wolves win promotion to the Championship last season and was an instrumental figure this term as Wolves just missed out on a play-off spot on goal difference.
The powerful centre-back is currently recovering from a stress fracture to his foot which forced him to miss the last two games of the season, but he is expected to be back for the start of pre-season.
The injury denied Batth a club record for consecutive appearances as had he seen out the season, he would have become the first outfield Wolves player to start every league match in successive 46-game seasons.
A number of Premier League clubs have been monitoring Batth's progress at Wolves and Sunderland are hoping to steal a march on their rivals by making an early move for the defender.
Sunderland are in the market for defensive reinforcements this summer regardless of the division they find themselves in next season.
Veteran Wes Brown is out of contract at the end of the campaign, while fellow centre-halves Sebastian Coates and Santiago Vergini are both only on at the Stadium of Light on loan.