International break sees Bruce’s team on their travels

10 October 2009 10:06
STEVE BRUCE is using the break from Premier League action to step up his search for new players.

His two chief scouts have been despatched to South America in an attempt to unearth the kind of bargains that have been a trademark of Bruces recruitment policy.

The manager will be personally checking out targets closer to home over the next few days as he draws up his list of January transfer targets.

Anton Ferdinand, who almost moved to Tottenham Hotspur in the last transfer window, continues to be linked with move away from Wearside and Bruce is known to be in the market for a centre- half as well as being keen on landing a new right-back and striker.

Bordeaux forward Marouane Chamakh last night expressed his desire to leave the French League and the Morocco international is on Sunderlands radar.

Despite Sunderland owner Ellis Short providing the manager with sound financial backing, Bruce is showing no signs of ending his penchant for trying to unearth gems in unlikely places.

Paulo Da Silvas arrival at the Stadium of Light from Paraguay via Mexico was Bruces most recent capture as the Sunderland boss continues to brings treasures across the Atlantic like some latter-day Cortes.

It is a strategy that yielded impressive results at Wigan Athletic, where Bruces worldwide scouting network secured the relatively unknown Honduran Maynor Figueroa and Colombia international Hugo Rodallega at bargain prices.

Ricky Sbragia, recently appointed chief scout, will spend the next few days watching South American clubs compete in World Cup qualifiers.

Bruce earlier this week outlined his plans: Well be flying off. Where Im going personally, I havent decided but there are two or three options.

Our two big scouts are away in South America and were scouring the world.

Bruce admits that his midfield options have become too sparse following a summer clear-out that saw Dean Whitehead, Grant Leadbitter and Carlos Edwards sold, while Teemu Tainio joined Birmingham City on loan.

Former Holland winger Boudewijn Zenden has impressed during his spell training with the Black Cats squad and his availability on a free transfer could also prove to be another bargain deal that Bruce finds too tempting to ignore.

The Sunderland boss is due to discuss options with Zenden following next Saturdays match at home to Liverpool.

The ex-Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Barcelona player is confident that he could soon be playing in a red and white shirt.

Ive been training with Sunderland for a week and I will continue for another week.

At the moment there arent many people (at the Sunderland academy) because of the international break. But that doesnt prevent me from working hard. Moreover, there are still great names here like Malbranque, Bent and Richardson.

I will know if I will sign a contract only towards the end of next week.

What is certain is that the bosses are interested in me.

They only want to see if I am physically fit or not.

I have not stopped since leaving Marseille. I have worked six times a week since this summer. Its a very nice club, well organised, with superb facilities.

Meanwhile, George McCartney has been ruled out of Northern Irelands final World Cup qualifier with Czech Republic on Wednesday because of a foot injury.

Source: Northern_Echo