CARDIFF City hope to hijack Sunderland’s move for Benjamin Mendy with an 11th hour move for the French left-back.
The Bluebirds are prepared to match the Black Cats bid for the 18-year-old and hope to persuade the teenager to play his Premier League football out of Wales next season rather than England.
Le Havre have accepted an offer from Sunderland and but personal terms yet to be fully agreed.
And Cardiff are putting their hopes in exploiting that narrow time window to force a change of mind.
Sources in Cardiff have confirmed that City manager Malky Mackay is a big admirer of the French youth international and believes he could develop into a player of genuine Premier League quality.
That seems to be confirmed by the types of clubs linked with the left-back this summer – Arsenal, Lyon and Marseille – but Mendy appears to be almost over the line as far as a move to Sunderland is concerned.
The youngster was over in the North East on Wednesday and Thursday this week and progress was satisfactory but with nothing been signed yet, Cardiff have not given up hope.
Le Havre president Jean-Pierre Louvel last week told Radio Monte Carlo: “We have reached agreement with Sunderland for the transfer of Mendy.
“It’s now up to him to reach an agreement with them.
“We are okay.”
That statement, and Mendy’s visit to Sunderland, would indicate that the Black Cats are in the driving seat and firm favourites to sign the player.
But with newly-promoted Cardiff having plenty of money to spend in their efforts to become an established Premier League club, Sunderland will be a lot happier once the Mendy deal is rubber-stamped.
The Mendy move is not the only transfer where Sunderland have their hands full.
The Black Cats’ pursuit of Velez Sarsfield right-back Gino Peruzzi is also in the balance after appearing to be all but past the post earlier this week.
The stumbling block seems to be personal terms with Peruzzi’s representatives still in discussions over the deal.