The 23-year-old midfielder is surplus to requirements at City, where he has failed to make a mark during two injury-blighted seasons, and the Black Cats have not been deterred by a £10million asking price.
Rodwell was filmed at Sunderland's Academy of Light facility, where he was thought to be discussing personal terms on a deal that should go ahead as soon as he passes a medical.
Rodwell was hot property when City signed him from Everton for £12million in August 2012, the result of some impressive all-action displays in the Toffees engine room.
But he found the star-studded City dressing room an altogether tougher challenge and was not helped by fitness struggles at key times.
Having made his England debut against Spain during the peak of his Everton days in 2011, Rodwell largely fell out of the international picture due to his lack of game time at the Etihad - though he was recalled to play a cameo in the glamour friendly draw against Brazil last summer.
Rodwell has started just seven Premier League matches during his time at City, scoring his only two goals during a 3-2 home defeat to Norwich.
His other starts have been confined to cup competitions, while he featured twice in the Champions League against German sides Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
Black Cats boss Gus Poyet's transfer business so far this summer has been of the low-key variety, with Jordi Gomez, Billy Jones and Costel Pantilimon signing on free transfers and Chelsea fringe player Patrick van Aarnholt also arriving.
A £14million move for Liverpool's Fabio Borini, who spent last season in Wearside on loan, has thus far come to nothing but Poyet said over the weekend he was confident of surprising fans with some exciting developments.
A box to box midfielder has been top of his priorities for much of the close season and Rodwell would fit the bill.
- Sports & Recreation