According to Sky Sports, Sunderland have rejected a bid from Turkish champions Besiktas for winger Jeremain Lens.
The 29-year-old spent last season in Turkey with Fenerbahce and was a hit in Istanbul scoring four goals and weighing in with a hatful of assists.
The Dutchman has been the subject of fevered speculation about his future since that loan spell ended and has supposedly been targeted by Turkish football’s ‘big three’ - Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas - all summer long.
In truth, speculation over where Lens will play his football next term has been growing since January with relentless gossip emanating from Turkey as to his likely destination.
And reports have continued to claim that Sunderland value Jeremain Lens at around the £6m mark and will not sell for anything lower.
In fact, there are suggestions that the Dutchman’s contract with the Black Cats contains a release clause similar to that which allowed Fabio Borini to move to AC Milan for a reduced price.
The Italian moved to the San Siro for an initial loan fee of €1m with an option to buy for a further €5.3m.
That value on the head of Lens would be roughly equivalent to half the price Sunderland paid for him two years ago.
Dick Advocaat purchased the player he had previously worked with at PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar for a fee of £11m, with add-ons which would have taken it to £13m.
Signed from Dynamo Kiev in July 2015, Lens played 20 Premier League games in his first season at the Stadium of Light scoring three goals.
After continued issues arose about the player’s attitude during Sam Allardyce’s spell as Black Cats manager, Lens was allowed to link back up with Advocaat last summer when the veteran coach took charge of Fenerbahce.
And the Dutchman got his career quickly back on track once in Turkey. Earning a recall to the Netherlands national side last autumn, Lens will have a good shot at making the squad for the World Cup next year should Holland - now managed by Advocaat - beat the odds and qualify for the tournament in Russia.
Lens has continued his impressive form now back in a Sunderland shirt during pre-season with hints of his individual quality capped with four goals - one each against Hibs, Livingston, Hartlepool and Bradford in friendly games.
Speculation about his future has mounted since mid-week as the player missed Sunderland’s trip to Scunthorpe. Black Cats boss Simon Grayson said after the match that Lens’ absence was due to a hip injury and as at Wednesday no offer had been received.
That seems to have changed today with Besiktas opening the bidding. Either way, it seems likely the departure of Jeremain Lens is now inevitable and imminent and it would be no surprise if a bid of around £6m was accepted by Sunderland.