Tomkins has been a regular for West Ham this season, and considering the club’s ambitions to breach into the top six come next May, luring him away from the club might be a little far-fetched.
Collins, on the other hand, is a more realistic target and it’s a deal which would represent fine business.
The 32-year-old’s contact at West Ham expires next summer, and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the Welsh international is going to be offered an extension in East London.
Collins has rarely featured this season, starting just three Premier League fixtures as he remains behind Tomkins, Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna in the centre-back pecking order.
Despite his current status at West Ham, the experienced defender still has what it takes to feature at the top level and Sam Allardyce knows all about his capabilities from his time at Upton Park.
Sunderland have improved immensely since Allatrdyce was appointed as Dick Advocaat’s successor, winning three Premier League matches in seven under his guidance.
The Black Cats have gone from having the worst defensive record in the league to keeping three clean sheets in their last six, a record comparable with a number of top-half clubs.
Allardyce doesn’t have an abundance of talent to work with, yet he’s stumbled across a 3-5-2 formation which certainly seems to be working and offers a lot more defensive solidarity.
However, with Wes Brown injured, he only has three other centre-backs to call upon - John O’Shea, Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Coates – leaving him in a precarious position.
A new centre-back addition must be at the top of his agenda in January, and Collins makes perfect sense with the player expected to be available and relatively cheap to boot.
The defender will be keen to play ahead of the European Championships next summer and he knows he will be given chances at Sunderland under his former boss Allardyce.