O'Neill wants Fulham striker Johnson as first Sunderland signing
The People says O'Neill will be handed a £20million January war chest - and Johnson is top of his hitlist.
O'Neill watched the Cottagers' clash at Arsenal last Saturday, when AJ came on for the last 15 minutes.
Johnson's contract is up at the end of the season and he will be available for a £1m loan fee in January though the player himself would prefer a permanent move.
O'Neill has always liked experienced midfield players and he could also try to tempt Fulham boss Martin Jol with a bid for 34-year-old Danny Murphy.