SUNDERLAND are believed to have made an enquiry for Valencia left-back Aly Cissokho after long-running efforts to sign Argentine full-back Lucas Orban failed to pay off.
The French international of Senegalese descent has the pace and energy boss Paolo Di Canio wants in that position and, at 25, fits the template of the sort of player Sunderland are now looking to recruit – good, young players who can improve further.
But, at the moment, if there is interest from the Black Cats, it is only at the very tentative stage.
Cissokho would be a top-quality signing, if Sunderland can lure him to the Stadium of Light.
And Sunderland will be aware that cash-strapped Valencia are weighing up options in terms of fund-raising sales.
The Black Cats’ biggest problem, though, might not be in persuading Valencia to sell, but Cissokho to leave.
And if the full-back is to leave the Mestalla, Liverpool are likely to aggressively pursue his signature.
Cissokho said recently: “Every player at the club is subject to speculation given the financial situation.
“I’ve had possibilities, that’s true, but I’m happy here, I’ve played in big games in both the Champions League and La Liga.”
Liverpool have been tracking the defender for some time and would be expected to rival Sunderland if Cissokho eventually leaves Spain.
Sunderland’s need for a new left-back is their most pressing concern after a summer of recruitment which has still to address the gap left by the return to Spurs of on-loan left-back Danny Rose, who spent all last season on Wearside.
The Black Cats have pursued Atletico Tigre defender Orban since the end of last season, along with Spanish sides Villarreal and Sevilla, but are now believed to have grown weary of the player’s failure to make progress on the potential move.
Neither is Rose likely to be a viable option, despite the England Under-21 international’s successful stint at the Stadium of Light.
Spurs are reportedly ready to give Rose a first-team opportunity at White Hart Lane this season.
And with Sunderland also losing out to Marseille in the race for French defender Benjamin Mendy, the Wearsiders are having to re-cast their net for a new left-back.
Sunderland were given no encouragement after making an enquiry for Eintracht Frankfurt’s Bastian Oczipka last week, while they have also been linked with Inter Milan’s Italian Under-21 international Cristiano Biraghi.
Biraghi’s agent, Mario Giuffredi, admits a move to Sunderland – where the 20-year-old would be reunited with ex-Inter chief scout Valentino Angeloni – is an attractive one.
“At the moment, I put the Premier League as the boy’s first-choice,” said Giuffredi. “Playing in England is the dream of all the players.
“There is also Angeloni who knows the guy right from the youth team and Di Canio is a great coach.
“It is definitely a welcome destination. We’ll see the evolution of the market.”