Sam Allardyce tried to sign Lamine Kone for West Ham.
Kone has flown to England for talks after Lorient president Alex Hayes confirmed the French side had accepted a bid from the Black Cats to sign him.
The 27-year-old centre-back is an Ivory Coast international, and there is good reason that Sunderland have moved quickly to snap him up - he is a player new manager Sam Allardyce is familiar with.
The Hammers were unsuccessful in their approach on that occasion, but had Allardyce remained boss, there is a good chance with Kone now available, he would be snapping him up for them instead as cover.
ESPN reported last month that Kone was still attracting interest from the Hammers, as well as Sunderland's relegation rivals Aston Villa. Allardyce stealing a march on former Ligue 1 boss Remi Garde to get his man is very much a coup, and shows the determination Sunderland have to improve their league position.