HE MAY have lost one of his prized midfield assets in Jordan Henderson, but Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is closing in on young South Korean striker Ji Dong-Won.
Reports coming out of Korea yesterday suggested Dong-Won was close to completing a £1m move from K-League outfit Chunnam Dragons, with the Black Cats also hoping to tie up a deal for Liverpool's David N'gog once he returns from holiday.
Six-foot-one striker Dong-Won recently scored for South Korea against a Ghana side containing Black Cats' front man Asamoah Gyan.
The 20-year-old has attracted interest with his impressive goalscoring record for both club and country and would add a much-needed physical presence to Sunderland's front line.
Dong-Won has scored nine goals in 32 appearances for the Dragons since joining in 2010 and has netted six times in eleven international games.
Bruce has repeatedly insisted his top priority during this summer's transfer window is to strengthen his forward options after the departure of Danny Welbeck back to Manchester United and a serious knee injury to Frazier Campbell.
The Black Cats boss has been linked with a number of strikers in the last few weeks including long-standing target Peter Crouch, German veteran Miroslav Close and Wolves' Kevin Doyle.
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However, Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has insisted Crouch will not leave White Hart Lane during the close season despite interest from the North-East.
Bruce tried to sign the England international two summers ago from Portsmouth, but the 30-year-old opted to move to the North London club instead.
And despite several strikers being linked with a move to Spurs, Redknapp insists the towering forward won't be sold this summer.
Redknapp said: He is not one I'm looking to shift. We are looking to bring a striker in but he is not one of those that we are looking to sell if we can help it.
German international Close has since joined Italian side Lazio and any hopes of landing Doyle took a hit when the Midlands club avoided relegation on the final day of last season.
Even if Dong-Won does arrive at the Stadium of Light, Bruce will still look to add a big-money striker to his squad using some of the money made from Henderson's move to Liverpool.
The Merseyside club have said the figure is in the region of £16m but sources on Wearside claim the amount will be £19.25m including add-ons.
There is still strong interest in Seb Larsson, David Vaughan and Kieren Westwood, with a deal set to be announced when the goalkeeper returns from holiday in the next few weeks.
Bruce is keen to add another keeper to his squad with Craig Gordon unlikely to be ready for the start of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
Gordon has now began his rehabilitation and after spending the majority of last season on the sidelines, the Scotland international hopes the problem is now behind him.
It's been a frustrating season for me, ever since I started the season by breaking my arm again in training, the 28-year-old said.
The arm is fine now and I put it behind me, but then I started to have the problem with my knee.
I never felt like I'd been 100 per cent fit. I've been struggling through trying to get the best out of my body.
But I've had the operation now and early indications are that it's going well.
I'll concentrate on the rehab side of things over the summer and I'll be back in before everyone else ahead of pre-season training.
Hopefully I'll be there or thereabouts around the start of the season but it'll probably be later than that when I can actually play some games.
At least that's something to aim for. We're working with the surgeon very closely and making sure he's happy with everything.
Meanwhile, midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady has completed his permanent move to the Stadium of Light.
The 23-year-old Egyptian spent last season on loan from ENPPI making 38 appearances in his debut season in England.
The initial loan deal included an agreement for the Wearside club to make the move permanent for a pre-arranged fee, an option boss Steve Bruce has decided to take up.