Connor Wickham has put Southampton and Leicester on alert after the striker rejected a new contract as he looks for a way out of Sunderland.
Wickham hit a rich vein of form at the end of the last Premier League season, scoring decisive goals against Chelsea and Manchester City while setting up a Sunderland winner against Manchester United.
But the 21-year-old, whose heroics proved vital as Sunderland managed to avoid relegation, has now refused to put pen to paper on a new three year deal, sparking interest from other top flight clubs.
Promoted Leicester City have already shown an interest in securing the services of the England under-21 international, while Southampton's new manager Ronald Koeman is understood to have funds available to land the striker and is monitoring the situation.
Former Black Cats manager Steve Bruce splashed out £8 million on the then teenage starlet in 2011.
But his spell at Sunderland turned sour after he failed to secure a starting place and subsequently went on loan to Championship sides Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United.
He eventually returned to the north east and appeared rejuvenated under boss Gus Poyet, netting five times in the final nine games of the campaign.
Sunderland are not yet overly concerned with the way negotiations are going and are aware time is still on their side to tie Wickham down, in reported the Shields Gazette.
The news comes as Sunderland look set to offer up to £6m for Swansea midfielder Ki Sung Yeung after the South Korean World Cup star spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light.
However, they face a fight to land the 25-year-old as Aston Villa are also preparing a bid.