According to Italian gossip masters TMW, Sunderland are one of three English clubs interested in signing Sporting Lisbon right-sided full back and occasional winger, Ezequiel Schelotto.
The report suggests newly promoted Premier League side Brighton are in pole position to close the deal in the coming days but Middlesbrough and Sunderland have also been in contact with the player’s agent.
Schelotto has turned out for numerous Italian clubs including Atalanta and Inter Milan, with a career supplement by various spells on loan in Serie B.
Born in Argentina, the 28-year-old holds Italian citizenship and played for Italy’s Under-21s in his younger days. Schelotto gained one senior cap when he was called up to play in a friendly against England in August 2012.
A certain Jermain Defoe came off the bench that night to secure a victory over the Italians who had not long since knocked England out of Euro 2012.
Sampdoria are also said to be interested in Schelotto but the report claims the player has set his heart on trying his luck in English football.
A right-back by trade, Schelotto’s pace has also seen him regularly utilised in a midfield position or as an out-and-out winger. Indeed, that speed has earned him the nickname El Galgo (“The Greyhound” in Spanish) or El Mosquetero (“The Musketeer”).
A good crosser of the ball, the 6ft 1in player has a decent number of assists to his name - ten in forty appearances since he signed for Sporting in 2015. Schelotto has lined up alongside former Sunderland defender Sebastian Coates regularly in the Primeira League.
Schelotto is under contract with Sporting to 2019 but manager Jorge Jesus is looking to restructure his squad this summer and a modest fee may be enough to lure the player from Lisbon.
Mad rumours last year claimed the Portuguese club had inserted a 45 million euro release clause into Schelotto’s contract but Malaga are said to have had a bid of 1.5m euros turned down earlier in the summer which is probably more in line with his value.
The Black Cats have options at right-back in the ranks currently but Simon Grayson’s squad is still lacking some pace and attacking verve in midfield.
Sunderland have room for another winger to complement Aiden McGeady with Wahbi Khazri still a potential departure from the Stadium of Light before the transfer window shuts.
At full-back, Billy Jones remains first choice on the right and the former Preston and West Brom man looked decent enough in the season opener against Derby last week. Adam Matthews and Donald Love are the two senior personnel available to deputise.
Schelotto doesn't much fit Grayson's British-built ethos but his Sunderland side is crying out for a little greyhound pace.