Black Cats aim to steal a march on the Cottagers in race to land Serie A defensive midfield player.
Sunderland are hoping to hijack Fulham’s move for unwanted Napoli midfield player Walter Gargano this summer, according to reports in the Daily Mail.
The experienced Uruguay international had been expected to sign for the west London club last week, with his agent Alessandro Lucci even due in the capital for talks with Cottagers head coach Martin Jol.
However, it is now understood that Black Cats boss Paolo Di Canio is hoping to steal a march on his Premier League rivals by persuading the 29-year-old to move to the Stadium of Light instead during the close-season transfer window.
Gargano has been told by his current employers in Serie A that he is now surplus to requirements in Naples going forward, and as such should find himself a new club next season after spending the previous campaign out on loan with Italian giants Inter Milan.
The holding midfield player featured in 36 matches in total in all competitions for Inter in the previous campaign, including in 27 Serie A contests for the club, however, the Uruguayan was then sent back to Napoli at the conclusion to his season-long loan spell last May.
But Gargano could now soon find himself playing in the north east next season if Di Canio gets his wish.