Bruce considers bringing in Bellamy from City

06 August 2011 08:00
STEVE BRUCE is eyeing up a swoop on Europe in his bid to solve Sunderland's left-wing hole, but intends to target former Newcastle forward Craig Bellamy first.

Bruce has already been in touch with Manchester City to discuss the players that are available this summer and Bellamy was included on a list along with Shaun Wright-Phillips, Emanuel Adebayor, Wayne Bridge and Nedum Onuoha.

Wright-Phillips is an option after accepting there is little chance of him landing Easington-born winger Adam Johnson, but it is the prospect of Bellamy returning to the North-East that most interests Bruce.

If he can follow up the sale of Steed Malbranque to St Etienne by reducing the wage bill further by offloading the likes of George McCartney, Marcos Angeleri, Matt Kilgallon and Nyron Nosworthy, then the chances of Bellamy arriving would be far stronger.

"City can only pick 25 players, so every manager is looking at Manchester City and they know which players are available," said Bruce, who does not think Onuoha would be interested in returning for a second loan because of family reasons.

Bellamy is predominantly a striker but he has shown during his time at Manchester City that he is more than capable of playing on the left of a front three, something which would help Bruce.

He added: "In an ideal world I want a natural wide player on the left who can go past players, so if there is someone who becomes available .

"I am not confident at all on anyone coming in before the Liverpool game next Saturday. I am pleased with what we have done already and I am not too concerned. The one left-winger (Charles N'Zogbia) we wanted was too expensive.

"It would be great to get a natural left-winger. Where are they I will possibly have to look abroad for one. We will see."

Celtic have already expressed an interest in taking the Welsh firebrand back to Parkhead, but have suggested the player's wages are going to provide a stumbling block.

That would appear to be the problem which could be on the horizon for Bruce, although City's decision to let Bellamy join Cardiff City on loan last season highlights they are open to subsidising part of his pay packet.

While Bruce, who intends to field a strong team in Sunderland's final pre-season friendly of the summer at Hibernian this afternoon, is still in the hunt for more new players, he is more than satisfied with the way his squad is shaping up.

He signed nine players - including Ahmed Elmohamady, who spent last season on loan - in a short space of time before pre-season training started and has not been faced with the sort of problems endured by Newcastle counterpart Alan Pardew.

Pardew has had to deal with criticism of the club's transfer policy from key players, particularly in the last week when Joey Barton's outbursts on Twitter have caused chaos.

"After the winter of discontent I was due a nice three months," said Bruce. "Twitter is another thing that modern football has to deal with. It is the society we are in and I think it is part of that now. If you are bringing up a kid it is 'what's right and what's wrong'.

"If it is used in the right way then fine; if you go off track it is like anything. I always believe in picking up the phone rather than hiding behind something.

"What happens now is that a player's comments are in every newspaper and on every TV station, every radio station, it hits everything. It's something else we have to deal with rather than it just being in one newspaper.

"Thankfully, we have been able to concentrate on the team because it has been like eight new players walking through the door and we have had six leave. It is like a total rebuild. I thought we only needed one or two at Christmas, then we lose a few and we start all over again."

As well as a left-winger, Bruce would be interested if a left-back became available, although he reiterated a belief that that is Kieran Richardson's best position.

With the exception of John O'Shea, all of his new players will be at Easter Road and Bruce thinks the Irishman will be missing at Anfield a week today with hamstring trouble.

"Hibernian will be a good test," he said. "It's our last pre-season game and we are looking ahead to the challenge. I have picked two teams in the last week who have had 90 minutes, that was important at Hartlepool and Darlington.

"The hardest part is that I have 20 players and ten will be disappointed next week. The game at Hibs will be another chance for me to weigh up what my best team is.

"I need to pick a team at Liverpool to get a result. That is the hardest part in management. Leaving players out is never easy."

*The Black Cats are understood to have had an offer for Derry City winger James McClean accepted.

The 22-year-old will travel to Sunderland on Monday for a medical.

McClean has been a target for a number of English clubs this summer, with Peterborough United making two offers.

Source: Northern_Echo