Cana on his way, as Sol arrives

09 July 2010 09:55
ON the day Sunderland held talks with former England defender Sol Campbell, manager Steve Bruce was forced to come to terms with losing his unsettled captain, Lorik Cana, to Galatasaray.

Campbell was on Wearside yesterday to discuss the possibility of filling the void left by John Mensah in the Black Cats squad, whose future is uncertain after a injury-hit loan campaign.

The 35-year-old former England defender is looking for a new club after becoming a free agent and, although talks are at an early stage, Sunderland are keen to do everything they can to lure him to the North-East, where he has property.

He has a l r e a d y failed to r e a c h a g r e e m e n t with Celtic, West Ham and Arsenal.

The Gunners would still like to have Campbell on board but, after being asked to take a significant pay cut on his terms from last season, the centre-back is considering all of his options and was open to discussions with Sunderland yesterday.

Bruce is determined to make progress on his summer recruitment plans after being rocked by the news that the £5m man he made captain was no longer committed to the club.

Albanian skipper Cana turned up for the first day of pre-season training on Wednesday with his father to outline his intention that he no longer wanted to stay at the club.

G a l a t a s a r a y made contact soon after and once they agreed to come up with the £5m fee that S u n d e r l a n d forked out for Cana 12 months ago a deal was concluded.

The transfer has left Bruce considering who should wear the captain's armband next season, with centre-back Michael Turner and midfielder Lee Cattermole the most likely candidates.

Bruce claims he never really wanted to lose Cana, but the decision was soon reached to move him on.

Lorik's style of play and attitude made him a natural choice as captain last season but when he came back for pre-season training it was apparent he had a desire to return to Europe, said Bruce.

Turkey is nearer to Albania, where his family and roots are, and it is much easier for him to see them on a more regular basis. I think this was a major factor for him.

Having acquired Paraguayan midfielder Cristian Riveros this summer and extended Bolo Zenden's stay by a further year, Bruce has plenty of midfield options.

Cattermole, Jordan Henderson, Kieran Richardson, Andy Reid, Jack Colback and David Meyler who was back on the training ground yesterday on his own after damaging cruciate ligaments in May are also suitable to play that role.

Cana claims he is sad to have left, despite struggling since the turn of the year.

He said: Since the first day I arrived I've had an amazing story with Sunderland. I knew I would find the kind of club and support I needed to play my game. The people here love their club, they have passion and a proper identity.

I gave my all for the club and it will always be in my memory. I have been offered the opportunity to play in European competition and the Champions League, and especially to be closer to my family this was not an easy decision for me though and I hope people understand.

Cana struggled with injuries and picked up ten yellow cards and one red for his uncompromising style,.

Bruce, back on the training ground in the last two days before next week's trip to Ireland, will now step up his attempts to tinker with his squad and Mexican defender Hector Moreno of AZ Alkmaar is under consideration.

I have been told about Sunderland and other teams, but I am not very interested in playing in England, most of all because of the way of living they have, said Moreno.

Darlington are holding trials at its Billingham-based development centre for talented players over the next four weeks.

The club has a network of centres which feed Darlington's centre of excellence.

Allan Clark, who has worked for the club for many years, is head coach for the centres and he liases with Quakers' head of youth Craig Liddle. Clark said: The aim is to bridge the gap between club football and centre of excellence football for young talent.'' The first of the trials take place today at SRC Sports Centre, Marsh House Avenue, Billingham. Under-8s and U10s from 6pm until 7pm, U12s and U13s from 7pm until 8pm, U14s from 8pm until 9pm.

For more information ring 0845 003 8388.

Source: Northern_Echo