Sunderland are set to face a fight with German giants Hamburg for the permanent signing of Lyon's Ghanaian World Cup star John Mensah.
The Black Cats were always hopeful of tieing the powerful defender down to a long-term contract at the Stadium of Light following his impressive loan spell on Wearside last term.
However, Mensah's excellent World Cup displays with the Black Stars appears to have alerted other European clubs to his availability and it looks like Hamburg could step up their interest.
There are also big-money offers from Qatari side Al Sadd and Turkish giants Galatasaray who are keen to sign the Ghanaian on world-class salary.
As a result French side Lyon are expected to try and auction off their player in order to receive as much money as they possibly can.
And that could put off Black Cats boss Steve Bruce, who was hoping to broker a pay-as-you-play deal given that injury-prone Mensah was restricted to just 20 games last season which is why he refused to immediately stump up the Â£8million asking price.
In the meantime Mensah's agent Fabien Piveteau has admitted that Mensah would relish the chance to return to Sunderland, but warned of interest from other parties.
He said: "The situation at this moment is very simple. Sunderland would like to keep the player and he would like to stay in England.
"Now it is up to Sunderland to work with Lyon to keep the player and make an agreement for him to go back to England.
"There is other interest in John now because of the World Cup. A very big German club has spoken to Lyon and they are interested in him.
"If it is up to John he will go back to Sunderland because he has a very good relationship with the coach (Steve Bruce) and his family are very settled in England. He found Sunderland a very good place to play. It is a situation for Lyon now, though."