Jordan Jones is keen to secure a permanent move to an EFL club this summer after failing to make an impact at Rangers.
The Northern Ireland international winger, 26, joined Sunderland on loan shortly before the January window shut after being frozen out at Ibrox.
A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Jones is looking to make his return to England a permanent one by shinning for the Black Cats in the second half of the campaign.
The Middlesbrough academy product is aiming to use his time back in the north-east as a “shop window” to reignite his flagging career.
Rangers have left the door open for Jones to return by loaning him out rather than selling him permanently last month.
But the Glasgow giants were open to a sale and would have cashed in if a buyer had met their asking price, which dropped well below the £1million mark.
Rangers don’t expect to get more than around £600,000 for a player who has struggled to make an impact since his free transfer from Kilmarnock in the summer of 2019.
Given his age and seniority, the Ibrox hierarchy were left fuming at his involvement in the Covid breach at a household party last November that led to a police caution and a seven-match suspension.
He has not played for Rangers since that point and there is a growing likelihood he has already featured in the last of his 19 matches for the club.
Jones made his Sunderland debut in the EFL Trophy last week with a 60-minute run-out in a 3-0 win against MK Dons.
He then played for 22 minutes as a substitute in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw in League One, also against MK Dons.