Nicolas Anelka is being offered a surprise return to the Premiership, with Sunderland already in talks with the striker.
Anelka has been made available secretly by his club Paris St-Germain, and an agent has contacted top clubs in the past few days to arrange the move.
Arsenal have rejected the chance to bring the temperamental player back to Highbury, but the Sunderland manager, Peter Reid, hopes to clinch a deal next week. Anelka will be given the chance to go on loan to the Stadium of Light for the rest of the season with a view to a £10m move. Talks will continue over the weekend but insiders in the deal are confident that the move can be completed in the next few days. The final decision will come down to Anelka.
Anelka's place in France's World Cup squad next summer is under threat because of his troubles at his current club, where he has fallen out with the coaches, and he desperately needs regular first-team football. Paris St-Germain spent £22m to bring their one-time discovery "home" last season but he has been inconsistent while they have run into financial trouble.Reuse content