In-demand Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh has revealed he is in advanced talks with Sunderland.
The 25-year-old said earlier this week he had given up on his preferred move to Arsenal but still wanted a switch to England.
Chamakh refuted allegations he is seeking a transfer to the Premier League for financial reasons.
"Bordeaux have made me a more attractive proposition to stay," he said in L'Equipe. "So contrary to what some people say, I don't want to leave for money but to experience a new challenge.
"In France, it is impossible that I could go anywhere else than Bordeaux, because that club will remain in my heart. However, I have made the wish to have a new adventure in England, and I would like that idea to happen.
"The contact which has reached advanced stages is with Sunderland. Maybe for some people it is not a great club, but it is fine to me. I know it can be a step forward and it is what I want."
Fulham and Tottenham have also been credited with an interest in Chamakh but Sunderland, whose link was ridiculed by Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud earlier in July, appear to be in pole position.
Steve Bruce is stepping up his search for a striker after Peter Crouch decided against a move to the north east.