Sunderland have become the latest Premier League club to be linked with a move for Denmark centre-half Jores Okore.
The Black Cats are understood to have watched the 20-year-old in action for Danish outfit Nordsjaelland, who Chelsea condemned to two heavy defeats in the group stages of the Champions League this season.
According to reports from The Shields Gazette, Okore is not expected to leave his native country during the January transfer window, but could be open to a summer move as a host of Premier League clubs begin to clamour for the highly-rated defender’s signature.
Premier League leaders Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Newcastle are among the clubs who have also scouted Okore, with Fulham rumoured to have seen a £2.5m bid rejected earlier this month.
Sunderland have already boosted their central defensive ranks this month with the capture of 6ft 5in Senegalese international Kader Mangane, but Martin O’Neill is still pursuing long-term reinforcements at centre-half.
Defenders Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon look set to leave Wearside in the summer, while Wes Brown is less than a fortnight away from marking a year on the treatment table.
Nordsjaelland are under little pressure to sell, after their recent windfall of Champions League football, but it is understood they could be tempted by a bid upwards of £4m.
The club, who currently occupy second spot in the Danish Superliga, are keen to keep Okore until the end of the season as they bid to retain their championship crown, which would see them qualify for the Champions League for the second successive campaign.