Sunderland are on the verge of a transfer breakthrough after French side Lorient confirmed they have accepted an offer for centre-half Lamine Kone.
Sam Allardyce has been tracking Kone for several weeks after watching the Ivory Coast international in person earlier this month, with Sunderland scouts continuing to keep tabs on the defender.
Lorient's English-born vice president, Alex Hayes, has confirmed that the club have agreed a fee with the Black Cats and he is now on the verge of moving to the Stadium of Light.
Kone flew to England yesterday to hold talks with Sunderland, with the deal likely to be concluded before the weekend.
Hayes said: "We have received an offer that we have accepted.
"It is now up to Lamine to find an agreement with Sunderland and to pass the medical before the transfer can be made official."
Kone was a target for Allardyce at former club West Ham and has been keen to move to the Premier League for several months after Lorient failed to receive a suitable bid during the summer window.
The 26-year-old will provide a much-needed boost to Sunderland's central defensive options, with Younes Kaboul ruled out for up to two months and John O'Shea expected to miss tonight's visit of Liverpool.
There have also been suggestions in France that Sunderland made a move for Lorient's right-back, Lamine Gassama, who is out-of-contract with the Ligue 1 outfit at the end of the season.
But while Lorient were ready to cash-in on Gassama, the 26-year-old has decided to stay at the club.