The Ivorian is expected to miss much of the coming two months through injury and, despite a string of unconvincing displays over the past 18 months, is said to have attracted interest from the Premier League clubs.
A new centre-back could therefore feature highly on the Christmas list of Sunderland's new manager Chris Coleman - who was one of them himself back in the day.
And one name, to which some Sunderland fans will be familiar, should be under consideration - especially if a report in Monday's Daily Mirror is anything to go by.
The report claims that Brentford's John Egan - who came through the ranks at the Stadium of Light - is wanted by Sheffield United in January, and that bidding could start as low as £750,000.
Egan has himself been linked with Premier League clubs in 2017 [Sun on Sunday], and at that price - perhaps even higher - Sunderland would be foolish to get involved.
The 25-year-old, who found himself at League One Gillingham after leaving Sunderland in 2014, has quickly established himself as one of the Championship's best in his position, and won his first caps for Republic of Ireland this year.
And though that could make competition fierce for Egan's signature - the chance to finish what he started at Sunderland may give the Mackems an advantage.
Should Sunderland rival Sheffield United for Egan?