Sunderland are pushing ahead of Arsenal in the race for Le Havre fullback Benjamin Mendy.

The London Evening Standard says reports in France today have suggested that Sunderland have forced their way ahead of Arsenal in the pursuit of 18-year-old Mendy by agreeing a fee for the player.

Sources on Wearside played down the claims that their interest in the France Under-19 international defender is as advanced as that, but confirmed Mendy is in the club's sights as they attempt to strengthen their squad after narrowly avoiding relegation last season.