SUNDERLAND want Uruguayan striker Luciano Rodriguez from Liverpool of Montevideo.
Head of recruitment Stuart Harvey was in South America last week trailing the teenager.
The 19-year-old, looks an ambitious target but the Black Cats have funds from selling Ross Stewart to Southampton for £8million in the summer.
Rodriguez hit the winner when Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 in the Under-20 World Cup final in June and is keen on a move to Europe — so Sunderland want to be in a position to move fast.
Meanwhile, Sunderland are set for a transfer battle with fierce rivals Middlesbrough over rising star Nathaniel Adjei.
The race for the talented 21-year-old is not solely limited to these two bitter rivals.
Fellow Championship promotion rivals Preston North End also keen on the Ghanaian defender.
All three want the blossoming centre back on loan in January to help give their chances of reaching the Premier League an extra push.
Adjei is currently with Swedish top-flight side Hammarby but has alerted scouts in England after already being tracked by Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers.
Rangers sent scouts to watch him play last month.
But his options could come from far wider than just the UK, with teams in Belgium and Italy also interested.
Adjei is enjoying a fine breakthrough season, having helped Hammarby reach sixth in the table after 29 games.
A regular starter, he has played in all but nine league games to date, as well as in both of their UEFA Champions League qualifiers.