Villa are allegedly keen on Pierluigi Gollini's compatriot, with the current number one linked with a return to Italy.
Mannone has played just twice for the Black Cats first team this season, a combined result of a lengthy injury lay-off from late August onward and the blossoming of Jordan Pickford at the Stadium of Light.
That has led to speculation that he could be set for a move away from Wearside in next month's transfer window, despite the 28-year-old having signed a new two-year deal back in July.
According to Italian outlet Gianluca di Marzio, Villa are leading the chase to sign the former Arsenal stopper, and could hold a key advantage over any competitors in that they are allegedly willing to complete a permanent deal rather than a loan move.
The report claims that Mannone and his representative are unhappy with the way he has been treated since returning from injury, demoted to featuring for the club's Under-23 side, and have asked that he be granted a move away.
Villa currently have Pierluigi Gollini and Mark Bunn as their senior goalkeepers, although 19-year-old prospect Matija Sarkic has been appearing on the bench in recent weeks.
They are known to be chasing another stopper, with a loan move for Manchester United stopper Sam Johnstone touted, but they could yet go in another direction.
Gianluca di Marzio claims that a move for the more experienced Mannone could make sense for Villa, as they are at risk of losing Gollini in the January window.
Several Italian clubs have allegedly expressed an interest in bringing the 21-year-old back to his native country after some impressive performances in the Championship this term.