O'Neill lines up 5m January swoop for Dawson to shore up Sunderland defence
11:58 GMT, 9 December 2012
Martin O'Neill is preparing a 5m January pursuit of Tottenham defender Michael Dawson as part of a spending spree to revive Sunderland's flagging season.
The Black Cats boss will be given significant funds by club owner Ellis Short in a bid to correct a poor start to the season.
And 29-year-old Dawson is top of the list, according to the Sunday People.
On the move Sunderland are reportedly lining up a 5m January move for Tottenham defender Michael Dawson
Sunderland find themselves in the relegation zone, with just two wins and 13 points to their name so far.
Their defensive record hasn't been too catastrophic – with 21 goals conceded – but O'Neill believes Dawson's leadership qualities could add extra steel to the side.
When Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas arrived in the summer, he was willing to offload Dawson and a 5.5m fee was agreed with Queens Park Rangers before the player turned it down.
Reinforcements: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill wants to firm up a defence which has conceded 21 goals in 15 games this season, leaving the club 18th in the table
However, Dawson, who has four England caps, has worked hard to win back his starting place in the last few weeks – making a January move less likely.
Sunderland may face competition from QPR, with Harry Redknapp reportedly keen on signing a player with whom he enjoyed a good relationship at Spurs.
Dawson has been at White Hart Lane since January 2005, when he joined for 8m from Nottingham Forest.