Bruce confident of making double capture
STEVE Bruce last night expressed his confidence that Sulley Muntari and Stephane Sessegnon will both be confirmed as Sunderland players within the next 24 hours.Sunderland officials were locked in discussions with Muntari and his representatives yesterday evening, and with talks over a £5m permanent deal for Paris St Germain midfielder Sessegnon having finally picked up pace, the duo should both be secured well before Monday's transfer deadline. Bruce, who has no interest in either Frederic Piquionne or Johan Elmander, is not expecting to sign an orthodox centre-forward in the next three days, although PSV Eindhoven's Danny Koevermans is being monitored as a potential target for an overseas loan. However, Muntari and Sessegnon will both help bolster Sunderland's attacking options in the absence of the departed Darren Bent, and Bruce is hoping to confirm an eagerly-awaited transfer breakthrough later today. We're now in discussions with Sulley Muntari, confirmed the Black Cats boss. There's an agreement with (Inter) Milan, and I believe the deal is close. We're in discussions with Paris St Germain about Stephane Sessegnon, but we haven't got permission to speak to the player directly yet. We have permission to speak to Sulley, so I guess you could say that's the furthest down the line. In the next 24 hours, though, I would hope that we could add both players to the squad. Ghana international Muntari will join on a season-long loan from Inter Milan, having previously impressed during a one-year spell at Portsmouth that saw him contribute to the club's FA Cup success. Sessegnon, a 26-year-old Benin international, is rather less well-known on these shores, but having watched him on a number of occasions in the last two years, Bruce is confident he is perfectly suited to the Premier League. The midfielder made a 10m Euros move from Le Mans to Paris St Germain two-and-a-half years ago, but has struggled to settle in the French capital. We've been tracking Sessegnon for a long time because of his versatility, said Bruce, who expects to have Lee Cattermole and John Mensah available for next Tuesday's home game with Chelsea. He can play on the left, the right, up front, or off a lone striker. He's played in all of those positions when we've been watching him. That's the beauty of him. Sessegnon is somebody who will light up the stadium. He's one of those players with a low centre of gravity, who is stockily built, but who is very, very quick. I was told by his agent that he's been training in the last couple of weeks with an Olympic sprinter who thinks that, over 60 metres, he could be in the top ten fastest runners in France. He's lightning quick, and he's exactly what we haven't really had before. He's been on our radar for a while because we know he's been uncomfortable in Paris for whatever reason. I hope he can come and do a good job for us. With Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell both due to return in the next six weeks, Bruce is willing to resist the temptation to sign another striker this month and stick with Asamoah Gyan and the out-of-favour David Healy as his only available strikers. Sessegnon's versatility increases his options, and with matches against Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal coming up in the next five weeks, the Sunderland boss might well have fielded a 4-5-1 formation on a regular basis anyway. His stance could alter if other clubs lower their asking price on deadline day, and Stoke's Ricardo Fuller and Cardiff's Jay Bothroyd remain ongoing targets. However, with Stoke demanding around £5m for Fuller and Cardiff asking for at least £4m for Bothroyd, there will have to be a significant reduction for a deal to go through. If there was a striker out there now who was the right money, age and quality, then I would be acting, said Bruce. But there isn't, so it's no good me trying to invent something and becoming stuck with that player. You have to be some striker if you are going to be on a par with Campbell, Welbeck and Gyan. That's the quality we're looking at. We have to find someone to complement those three, and at the moment, it's not possible to find one or prise one away. The dilemma we have is that the centre-forwards I would like to bring to the club are either not available, or not available in a manner we think is realistic. The last thing I want to do is bring someone in for the sake of it. I would rather keep my powder dry for the future. We have six games coming up in the next two months, then in two months time, I'll have Campbell and Welbeck fit. To try to get better than those players at the moment, I can't. I think it's sensible to bide our time and keep the club's money in my pocket until the summer.
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