Sky Italia have named Cagliari centre back Davide Astori as the latest to be linked with the Black Cats. The Italian, on loan at Roma last season, appears to be unwanted by the Serie A club following their reluctance to make the move permanent. As a result Astori would be free to return to his parent club, Cagliari, now in Serie B.
Budesliga side Schalke are also said to be interested in the defender and it is suggested we are both courting his signature. The reports would also have us believe that discussions with Roma are pressing ahead between all relevant parties.
However, if we're honest, this particular transfer rumour doesn't feel like it has much mileage in it does it?
Despite making 10 appearances for the Gli Azzurri since 2011 and 23 for Roma, Astori's qualities don't compare favourably with those players we're already linked with. For example Virgil van Dijk is a young up and coming highly rated prospect, with Ron Vlaar a staple of the Dutch national side for years with added experience of the Premier League.
While both potential transfers have different attributes but, by measure of quality and ability to impact on our squad, it could be argued they're roughly on par.
Astori has never particularly set Italy alight and there's nothing in his past playing career to suggest a move to the Premier League would be any different. Therefore when you consider the defenders Lee Congerton and Dick Advocaat are said to be looking at this summer, Astori's feels a little like the odd one out as things stand at the moment.
Perhaps Astori may have been a name we'd have been expected to be linked with in the past, and indeed have been, but under a new regime, Sunderland seem to be aiming a little higher this summer. It's one to keep a cursory glance on, nothing more.