Sunderland are hoping to seal a loan deal for Burnley centre-back Jimmy Dunne.
The 21-year-old has been in superb form for Hearts in the first half of the season after signing as cover for injured captain Christophe Berra.
He made 14 appearances before suffering an ankle injury that he is now recovered from.
Burnley recalled him after his loan expired and he is now set to link up with the Black Cats.
Manager Jack Ross confirmed on Monday that he is close to signing a new defender.
"I would like to do it as early as possible but my understanding is that it is all on track.
"Like anything, it's not always straightforward, things can always change at the last minute which is why I'm always [cautious] until it is all signed.
"But I had a conversation about it this morning and everything I've been told is that it will still happen this week.
"Hopefully it will be over next couple of days."
Dunne has EFL experience after a very successful loan spell with Accrington Stanley last season.
He was a regular during the second half of the season as John Coleman's side won a remarkable promotion to League One.
A tall and imposing defender, Dunne will add some welcome physicality to the Sunderland side and scored twice for Hearts during his time there.
His form saw him win his first international call up, though he is yet to be capped.