Lens have made a €10 million bid for Portsmouth's Younes Kaboul, although have had their move for the defender rejected.
Sunderland are also in the hunt for the Frenchman and would be prepared to offer £7 million plus centre half Anton Ferdinand, or a straight cash deal of £9 million.
ESPN Soccernet revealed last week that Pompey have slapped a £14 million price tag on the head of Kaboul who is pushing for a World Cup place but, so far, the club have kept their nerve and their vow not to sell their star players (the few that are left) on the cheap.
Kaboul is clearly the man to bring in the short term cash boost to help the club over their current financial crisis and there are a number of big Premier League hitters taking a look at Kaboul, including Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Lens, though, are leading the chase for Kaboul, but with the January transfer window still with plenty of time to run, Pompey would expect to get closer to their £14 million valuation.
A Pompey insider told ESPN Soccernet: "When you think about it, where are the next generation of centre halves, who is going to take over from the likes of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand? Kaboul has the quality, he is pushing for the French World Cup squad, and his value will soar in the summer."
However, Pompey might not be able to wait until the summer to attract an offer that reflects their valuation, so a comprise is likely to be sorted out before the close of the January window.