Rotherham United are set to pip Sunderland to the signature of defender Clark Robertson.
It is understood that the Black Cats held talks with the 24-year-old centre-half but it is understood he wants to test himself in the Championship.
Newly promoted Rotherham are increasingly confident of signing Robertson and a deal could be wrapped up the end of the week.
Robertson, a free agent this summer, played 39 times for Blackpool last season as they established themselves in League One, being named Player of the Season at the Seasiders.
Sunderland return to pre-season training today but Jack Ross will have to look elsewhere for further defensive reinforcements.
Alim Ozturk has arrived but the departures of John O’Shea and Marc Wilson and expected departure of Lamine Kone mean more central defenders are needed.
Chairman Stewart Donald has previously confirmed ex-Hartlepool defender Jack Baldwin is also on Sunderland’s radar, the Peterborough defender available for around £250,000.
Manchester United left-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is a target. The 21-year-old is available on a season-long deal.