Yann M'Vila is believed to be a step closer to returning to Sunderland, according to sources in Russia.
The midfielder spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light, and both club and player have been keen to reunite this summer on a permanent basis.
M'Vila was one of Sunderland's best players last term, as they narrowly avoided relegation and condemned rivals Newcastle United to the second tier of English football.
The Frenchman was a key figure throughout the season at the heart of midfield, and is now believed to be very close to becoming David Moyes' first signing as Sunderland manager.
Rubin Kazan and Sunderland close to agreeing fee
There is a willingness from Sunderland and M'Vila to complete the deal, with the 26-year-old said to be willing to take a hefty wage-cut from his £100,000-per-week deal at Rubin Kazan.
The stumbling block has been between the two clubs, with Kazan wanting a large return on their player, despite only having six months remaining on his contract.
As negotiations continue between Sunderland and Kazan, it is believed that they are now close to agreeing a fee for M'Vila, allowing him to return to the Premier League club, who begin their season away to Manchester City.
Huge boost for Moyes
The deal will be a huge positive for new manager Moyes, who arrived on Wearside last week after Sam Allardyce was confirmed as the new England manager.
Sunderland are yet to make any new signings this summer, and with the season set to kick off in just over two weeks, the Black Cats may be considering themselves less than prepared following a summer of unrest due to lack of transfer activity and another departing manager.
If and when M'Vila does re-join, Moyes will be the third manager the Frenchman has played for during his time at Sunderland, having arrived last summer when Dick Advocaat was in charge of the club.
Having impressed last season, Moyes is clearly keen to bring him back to the club as he prepares for the new season. The Scottish manager has been interested in M'Vila in the past, with the midfielder being linked with a move to Everton during Moyes' final season at Goodison Park.