Bruce looks to foreign loan market for boost
STEVE BRUCE aims to strengthen Sunderland's depleted ranks by acquiring at least one new midfielder in the next week, with Inter Milan's Sulley Muntari and highly-rated African Stephane Sessegnon in his sights. Bruce has been rocked by the news that David Meyler is facing up to another lengthy spell on the sidelines after damaging the cruciate knee ligament injury that forced him to miss the majority of 2010. And with Lee Cattermole already looking at missing most of January with a back complaint and a hamstring injury meaning Danny Welbeck has joined an already extensive treatment room, Bruce could do with recruiting. Having Jack Colback and Andy Reid back from loans at Ipswich and Sheffield United respectively has helped, but Bruce hopes at least one new addition will help ease the situation. Bruce said: We're talking to a couple of foreign players, I wouldn't say we're imminent to sign anyone in the next 24 hours but we're talking with people and having conversations. Ghanaian Muntari is an international team-mate of both Asamoah Gyan and John Mensah and is available to leave Inter Milan after starting just once in Serie A this season. Sunderland face competition from a number of other Premier League clubs, with Liverpool known to have already been in contact with Inter over a deal. But Bruce wants to strike a loan deal until the end of the season with a view to a permanent arrangement for the 26-year-old who left Portsmouth for around £10m. Muntari is a versatile midfielder who prefers to play through the middle while Sessegnon can play anywhere behind the forwards as an attacking midfielder or winger. Sessegnon has been impressive in Ligue 1 since starring for Creteil and then Le Mans before joining Paris St Germain two-and-a-half years ago. The Benin-international has attracted interest from across the Premier League, including Arsenal, in the last 12 months, and Sunderland have been monitoring him closely. Prior to Christmas, Sessegnon is believed to have demanded a transfer, which has led to him being left out of the PSG team in recent matches, but he is contracted until 2013 and is valued at around £8m. Bruce, whose side face Notts County at the Stadium of Light in the FA Cup today, has been forced to look at the foreign loan market because he already has his two permitted Premier League loans. He has thought about trying to lure Birmingham's Sebastien Larsson, who is wanted by Newcastle, while he has an interest in Aston Villa's Steve Sidwell. Bruce will have to reshuffle his pack when Paul Ince brings County to Wearside today, with Cristian Riveros set for a rare start in midfield in the absence of Meyler, Cattermole and the suspended Bolo Zenden. Sunderland have received encouraging news on Meyler's injury in the last 48 hours, with the Irishman not expected to be out for as long as he was when he ruptured his knee ligament in April. The really great news we got late last night was that Meyler hasn't ruptured the cruciate ligament, it's still intact which is great news for us, said the Sunderland manager. He's wrenched the knee horribly so we'll know more in the near future in terms of time schedules. As we speak he's with the surgeon who performed the operation on him last year. He's going to be out for weeks. You're talking leg brace, we're talking similar type of thing to Michael Turner. We hope he doesn't need an operation but the good news is that it's not going to be another year out which would be tough because he doesn't deserve that. Colback and Reid are both available today but Bruce will take his time in deciding what role to hand them. In Reid's case there is still a chance he will leave permanently this month despite returning from the Blades earlier this week. The midfielder is out of contract in the summer and is keen to move on to become a first team regular somewhere, with Bruce accepting he will only be on the periphery under him. Something could happen still on the Reid front, said Bruce. We've called Jack Colback back and Andy Reid comes into the equation too, but we'll see what we've got over the next week or ten days. He could still go.
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