The report claims that Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has put the goal poacher at the top of his summer wish list and could go in for him should the Black Cats fail in their bid for survival.
Sam Allardyce’s men are currently in the midst of an intriguing relegation battle, sitting in 18th position in the Premier League - one point ahead of Norwich City and one point behind Newcastle United.
Defoe has been outstanding for the Wearside club this season, scoring 13 league goals with his latest coming in the final minute to rescue his side a point at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke City.
In spite of his goals, though, Sunderland could still find themselves going down and relegation to the Championship will undoubtedly place the future of a number of players in doubt.
Defoe, 33, has proved his pedigree in the top flight despite his age and he will be among the first to be linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light with Bournemouth in particular a keen admirer.
Manager Eddie Howe has impressed at Dean Court this season and he will be looking to bolster his Cherries squad this summer in a bid to move the club forward and become an established top flight side.
Defoe once had a loan spell at Bournemouth 15 years ago, scoring 18 league goals in 29 matches.