Kuranyi in line to replace Bimingham target Jones

08 January 2010 09:16
SUNDERLAND are ready to sell Kenwyne Jones to Birmingham City, provided they can replace him with Germany international Kevin Kuranyi.[LNB] Birmingham officials are understood to have tabled an £11m offer for Jones, but Black Cats boss Steve Bruce has been reluctant to sanction the striker's departure without a replacement in place.[LNB] However, the last 24 hours have seen Sunderland close in on Kuranyi, and even though the 27-year-old conducted an interview with Schalke's official website last night in which he spelled out his desire to remain with the German club, Jones' departure now appears all but inevitable.[LNB] Stoke City are expected to make an offer of their own having monitored the Trinidad & Tobago international, but Birmingham have leapt to the front of the queue and boss Alex McLeish is confident of tying up a deal within the next seven days.[LNB] McLeish has up to £40m to spend following Carson Yeung's takeover, and is willing to commit more than a quarter of that sum to the capture of Jones.[LNB] He has also inquired about Newcastle's Andy Carroll, but Jones' Premier League pedigree has taken him to the top of McLeish's wanted list.[LNB] The Blues boss has instructed his club officials to make an £11m offer for the 25- year-old, and while he refused to confirm the existence of a bid at his weekly press conference yesterday, he made little attempt to distance himself from the speculation.[LNB] We've made inquiries about a lot of people, said McLeish. I don't want to confirm or deny a bid has gone in (for Jones).[LNB] Jones came close to leaving the Stadium of Light last January, when Tottenham lodged a £15m offer, but then manager Ricky Sbragia persuaded him to sign a four-and-a-halfyear contract.[LNB] His form has dipped since then, though, and Bruce has privately harboured doubts about his suitability from the moment he arrived at the Stadium of Light in the summer.[LNB] Jones has scored six goals in 19 matches this season but, tellingly, Bruce has dropped him to the bench on a number of occasions and opted to play Darren Bent as a lone centreforward.[LNB] Jones' future is dependent upon Sunderland's attempts to sign a striker, however, and Kuranyi has emerged as Bruce's leading target.[LNB] The Schalke striker is out of contract in the summer, and the Black Cats are ready to lodge a £3.5m offer.[LNB] A number of Premier League clubs, including Everton, Blackburn and Fulham, have inquired about Kuranyi's availability, but none are willing to pay more than £3m for a player who will be free to move for nothing in the summer.[LNB] Sunderland would be willing to go to that price, and the Black Cats are also in a position to match the German's wage demands.[LNB] Kuranyi is understood to be aware of the Wearsiders' interest, and claims to be keen to remain with his current employers.[LNB] I try not to get involved in it too much, he said last night. I want to have success with Schalke. We are in a very good situation at the moment.[LNB] I have already had success here for three-and-a-half years and have also experienced difficult situations, but I feel good here and am committed to Schalke.[LNB] However, with Schalke officials keen to secure a transfer fee rather than allow his contract to expire in June, yesterday's committed comments could count for little.[LNB] Kuranyi is far from Sunderland's only target, and Bruce is understood to have inquired about three different right-backs as he attempts to bolster his side's defence.[LNB] Initially, he attempted to sign Tottenham's Alan Hutton on loan, only to be told that Spurs would only be willing to sell him for £4m.[LNB] He then turned his attention to former Newcastle right-back Habib Beye, only for Villa boss Martin O'Neill to scupper his hopes of a quick deal by refusing to sell the Senegal international before he had an opportunity to bring in defensive reinforcements of his own.[LNB] Therefore, Bruce has approached German club Hamburg to sound out the possibility of signing Ivory Coast international Guy Demel.[LNB] Demel, who is currently representing his country at the African Cup of Nations, spent a year at Arsenal in 2000 without featuring in the senior side, but has subsequently carved out a formidable reputation in the Bundesliga.[LNB] He can also play in a defensive midfield role, and Bruce has not been put off by the £5.5m price tag.[LNB] Sunderland have extended Jack Colback's loan at Ipswich Town until the end of the season.[LNB] A Safety Advisory Group meeting today will determine whether tomorrow's home game with Bolton will go ahead as planned.[LNB] While there are no issues with the pitch, problems are anticipated on surrounding roads that could prevent supporters, emergency services and club personnel from getting to the game.[LNB] We will continue to monitor the weather conditions and associated safety issues,[LNB] said Ken Scott of Sunderland City Council, who chairs the Safety Advisory Group.[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo