Newcastle United are in a strong position to sign Marseille defender Nicolas Nkoulou, report The Times.
Nkoulou is the Cameroon international captain, and has been with the Ligue 1 side since 2011, racking up more than 150 appearances.
Steve McClaren is still searching for Newcastle's first summer signing, with the club set to travel to Switzerland for their pre-season training camp at the weekend.
Nkoulou, 25, is wanted by French side Lyon, but The Times report that Marseille are determined not to sell to a rival.
The centre-back has only one year left on his contract, putting Marcelo Bielsa's side in a weak negotiating position, prepared to make him available at £7 million.
He has 60 international caps for Cameroon, and was linked by Talksport 12 months ago with a move to Arsenal.
The Times report Sunderland and Aston Villa are also currently interested in battling Newcastle for his signature.
Newcastle United are in real need of upgrading their defensive options. Nkoulou would be a significant improvement on Mike Williamson, while Fabricio Coloccini is no longer seen as a long term answer for the club.
While there is a real desire to make a statement by bringing in a marquee attacking signing like Aleksandar Mitrovic or Georgino Wijnaldum, a deal to sign Nkoulou could be equally important.