Sunderland are stepping up their hunt for a new striker amid fears they could lose Josh Maja and Jerome Sinclair in January.
Black Cats chairman Stewart Donald revealed he had held talks with a forward yesterday ahead of a possible move to the Stadium of Light this month.
It comes as manager Jack Ross admitted Sinclair has a clause in his loan deal which could see the player return to Watford this month.
Sinclair signed a season-long contract but could be recalled by the Vicarage Road outfit, with the player not having seen as much game time as he would like in recent weeks with the return from injury of Charlie Wyke and Duncan Watmore pushing him down the pecking order.
“He is frustrated because he wants to play,” Ross said. “His approach, attitude and demeanour hasn’t wobbled at all which I’m pleased about.
“Equally, he’s a loan player, and it needs to be worthwhile for everyone. I have a duty to him in terms of how he progresses his career.
“At the moment [I expect him to stay]. Again, it’s an ongoing conversation.
“As long as you’re communicating regularly and we both have an understanding of where he’s at, then that’s good.
“Then you know if he needed to play more regularly or we felt it was right then we could have that conversation."
With Maja having turned down a new contract last week, the 20-year-old is free to leave the club at the end of the season as things stnd, meaning Sunderland may be forced to sell him this month.
It resembles a similar situation to the January transfer window last year when Sunderland lost Lewis Grabban after he cut shot his loan move from Bournemouth, and sold James Vaughan. That left Chris Coleman short on firepower for the remainder of the season, with the club scrambling around on deadline day to bring in Ashley Fletcher on loan from Middlesbrough.
Donald wants to avoid a similar situation and has revealed he has already held talks with a strike target.
"We seen two players today [Monday], both of whom we would hope would sign relatively quickly," he said.
"Opposite ends of the pitch, centre-back and a striker.
"We have got ourselves into a position where it would be criminal not to strengthen our squad to try and make sure we have the best squad for the back end of the season and we are committed to doing that."
Sunderland are set to sign Burnley defender Jimmy Dunne on loan this week. The 21-year-old centre-half has been on loan at Hearts in the SPL in the first half of the campaign.