The Sun claim Sunderland are keen on re-signing midfielder Grant Leadbitter from Middlesbrough.
The 31-year-old departed the Stadium of Light in 2009 after rising through the Black Cats youth academy to become a regular in the first team under first Mick McCarthy and then Roy Keane.
Leadbitter made 44 appearances the last time Sunderland were in the Championship before being sold for £2.6m to Ipswich.
Three seasons at Portman Road followed before the Chester Le Street native landed at the Riverside five years ago.
Leadbitter has made nearly 200 appearances for the Teessiders but was in and out of the Boro starting line-up in the Premier League last season. And with new boss Garry Monk continuing to splash the cash, the former England Under-21 international may have to look elsewhere to gain regular first team football.
Sunderland are blessed with options in central midfield but lack much in the way of a creative spark and have little money to invest.
Lee Cattermole impressed in the first league game of the season alongside Didier Ndong and Simon Grayson had Darron Gibson on the bench, with Jack Rodwell and Paddy McNair due to return from injury as the campaign progresses.
Whether Leadbitter could offer that spark is up for debate but he did demonstrate sufficient drive, energy and attacking intent last term to indicate he can bring something to a Championship squad. Lacking pace perhaps, he is a decent technical midfielder who can score the odd goal.
Meanwhile links to the likes of Brentford midfielder Ryan Woods have gone quiet as the Black Cats transfer budget shows little sign of becoming anything above negligible.
Sunderland were loosely linked with a swoop for Leadbitter earlier in the summer before managerial turmoil at the Stadium of Light curtailed all transfer activity. Gossip suggests he would be interested in a return to Wearside and in the last year of his contract at Middlesbrough, any fee should be modest.
Leadbitter remains well thought of amongst the Sunderland faithful for his efforts in red-and-white and most would cautiously welcome his signing.
For one thing, the story is worth it just to post this classic photo again of Teesside-born Cattermole scrapping with County Durham-born Leadbitter whilst wearing opposing shirts.
A local lad, Leadbitter would come with plenty of understanding for football in this part of the world and the link seems to have enough about it to suggest it’s not just lazy newspaper talk.
But what do you think?
Would you happily add Grant Leadbitter to this Sunderland side?
This poll is closed
Aye. Solid addition
Nah. Leave him down the A19