Aston Villa have held talks with Sunderland over the signing of Liam Bridcutt, The Sun report.
The paper's Monday edition (page 51) claimed they are making in roads over the signature of the Black Cats midfielder who has one year remaining on his contract at the club.
Bridcutt was on loan at Leeds United last season and was reported late last month to still be a transfer target for the Whites, by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Liam Bridcutt at Leeds
The sale of Lewis Cook to Bournemouth has raised Leeds' need for Bridcutt, but they have failed to act, and now face losing out on him to Villa.
There remains a chance that Villa's interest will cause Leeds to sit up and pay attention, but even if so, it could be too little too late.
Bridcutt was already non-committal on returning to Leeds, telling the Yorkshire Evening Post earlier this year he would return 'if the conditions were right'.
Liam Bridcutt is booked for Scotland against Denmark
Aston Villa may have been a crisis club last season upon their relegation from the Premier League, but in the Championship they are seen as one of the favourites for promotion, while Leeds are a long shot simply to reach the play-offs.
Joining Villa will give Bridcutt more motivation as there is a tangible goal to aim for throughout the season, in contrast to last season at Leeds when they were effectively out of the play-off hunt by January.
Leeds sacked the man who signed him, Steve Evans, which will not count in their favour either, and Villa's superior finances also give them a further leg up when it comes to both his wages, and convincing the player they can attract further quality.
The Whites had an advantage shortly after the season to sign Bridcutt but they have failed to take advantage of this and show him that he is really wanted, and now if Villa's interest is serious, it appears very difficult for Leeds to convince him to snub Roberto di Matteo's side to rejoin them instead.
Bolton Wanderers' Liam Trotter in action with Leeds United's Liam Bridcutt