Rennes have made their second midfield signing in as many days with the capture of Sanjin Prcic from Sochaux.
Lazio's new centre-back Stefan De Vrij has denied Manchester United were ever in the hunt to sign him.
Ward returned to Norwich on January 1 after a loan spell at the City Ground during which he started 11 matches.
McLeish wants to bolster his defensive options and is targeting Ward initially on a loan deal, with a view to a permanent transfer in the summer.
"We need to look at the defensive situation. We were looking at central defenders prior to the game and we certainly will now," McLeish told the Nottingham Evening Post.
"We are looking at Ward. That is a situation that is on-going. We are talking to Norwich about that one.
"We want to get him back, it is possible, but it depends on the kind of deal that can be done.
"We are probably looking at another loan, just so I can have a look at him, perhaps with a view to making it more permanent beyond that."