Hull City have stolen a march on Sunderland in the hunt for Rochdale star Ollie Rathbone by tabling a bid for the midfielder, Football Insider understands.
The 23-year-old is in high demand this summer after his standout performances in League One, with Fleetwood Town and Oxford United also in the hunt for his capture.
However, a source at the KCOM Stadium has told Football Insider that the Tigers have made an offer for the former Manchester United graduate that has been turned down by the Dale.
Rathbone has already made 137 appearances for the League One outfit after he joined the club on a free transfer in 2016 following his exit from the Old Trafford youth ranks.
The central midfielder, who has also played in a defensive and left-sided role, featured 24 times in the third tier last season with two goals and three assists under his belt.
He was also a standout performer against Premier League opposition in the cup competitions as Rochdale managed to hold both Newcastle United and Manchester United to 1-1 draws.
His performances have caught the eye of clubs further up the League One table, including promotion hopefuls Sunderland, and Hull have made the first move to secure his capture this summer.
However, Dale have turned down the offer from the recently-relegated Tigers as they look to hold out for a more lucrative deal for one of their top performers.
Hull manager Grant McCann has already brought a number of players through the door as they look to try and bounce back to the Championship next season.
The Tigers have signed Greg Docherty, Lewie Coyle, Josh Emmanuel, Richard Smallwood, Festus Arthur and Mallik Wilks so far.
In other Hull City news, it can be revealed Wycombe Wanderers are plotting to sign a Tigers defender.