Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy is hopeful of adding Switzerland international midfielder Ricardo Cabanas to his squad during the transfer window.
The 26-year-old Grasshoppers Zurich player was on Wearside last week to discuss the possibility of a move to the Premiership after impressing McCarthy on international duty while he was in charge of the Republic of Ireland.
'He came over and we had a chat to him and his representatives,' McCarthy said. 'He's a very good Swiss midfield player who can do a number of jobs in the midfield.
'He played against us (Ireland) three years ago and Dave Bowman (Sunderland's chief scout) watched both of Ireland's games against the Swiss in the last World Cup qualifying.
'Ricardo wants to move to the Premiership and I've had a chat to him about a possible move. We'll see. There's a lot to be done.
'It's not easy these days. It's just contractual things. It was early in terms of talks, but very amicable.'
Cabanas is a right-sided player who can also operate in the middle and would provide competition for the likes for Dean Whitehead - who is again being linked with Liverpool - Tommy Miller and Liam Lawrence.
However, McCarthy has not tried to make light of the club's current situation - they are rooted to the bottom of the Premiership with only six points from 20 matches and are odds-on favourites to return to the Coca-Cola Championship - and has sought assurances from the player he would not jump ship in the event of relegation.
'One of my questions was 'What happens if we are not in the Premiership, what will your feelings be then?',' he said.
'He reiterated what we all think if the worst happens: that if we stuck together and no-one wanted to leave he'd be more than happy to try to fight his way back into the Premiership.'
McCarthy has dismissed a link with West Brom utility man Riccardo Scimeca.
'Ricardo Scimeca was a bolt from the blue,' he told the club's website. 'I was asked about him by his representative and I said it wasn't the case. He's a holding midfield player and I've got Christian Bassila.'
Meanwhile, McCarthy has sent 19-year-old left-back Dan Smith out on a month's loan to League One side Huddersfield.
The teenager has made two senior appearances, both in this season's Carling Cup, in which he was sent off on his senior debut against Cheltenham in the second round.