Striker deal on cards for Bruce

13 July 2010 10:18
SUNDERLAND are hopeful of completing a shock move for a striker this week.

After claiming recently that he was in no hurry to strengthen his attacking options, manager Steve Bruce is closing in on his fourth capture of the summer as he aims to relieve some of the goalscoring burden from Darren Bent who struck 25 times in all competitions last season.

Yes, we were reliant on Bent but Man. United were reliant on Rooney, Chelsea relied on Drogba. That's what strikers are for, said Bruce, who been linked with moves for Nigeria's John Utaka, Humberto Suazo of Chile and Ezequiel Lavazzi.

A former target of Liverpool and Chelsea, Lavezzi signed for Italian Serie A side Napoli in a £5m deal three years ago.

Despite not being selected for Diego Maradona's World Cup squad in South Africa the 25-year-old has earned six international caps and is highly rated at Napoli where he is contracted until 2015.

A move for Lavezzi would swell Sunderland's growing South American contingent although the deal to bring right-back Marcos Angeleri to Wearside appears to be foundering after Bruce admitted he was becoming concerned

by delays in the proposed move.

After agreeing a £1.5m deal with Argentinian outfit Estudiantes last month the Sunderland boss expected the necessary paperwork would have been completed by now, allowing Angeleri to play a part in the club's pre-season campaign that kicks-off this evening at Limerick.

Despite assurances from Angeleri's advisors that he qualifies to hold an Italian passport, bypassing the need for him to apply for a work permit, clearance has still not been received and Bruce revealed that he is running out of patience.

He said: I'm concerned because the agent has told us it's (his passport) going to happen and that it's 100 per cent sure but it's not happened yet.

It's now a month so I'm a little bit concerned.

He's been over here for the last two or three days training but we can't take him to Portugal, for example, because of his visa situation and nonsense like that.

Reports of a move for Manchester United's Michael Carrick, however, were firmly denied by the Sunderland chief.

Strengthening his defence remains Bruce's priority and he is optimistic about adding both Sol Campbell and John Mensah's experience to his squad.

Campbell, who has also been in talks with West Ham and Celtic, is mulling over an offer to join the Wearsiders but the centre-back's wage demands could prove to be a stumbling block while Bruce remains keen to agree another loan deal for Mensah.

If we can get a similar sort of deal as last year with Lyon then I'd have to do it,'' he admitted.

The good thing is that John wants to come back, his kids are settled here so we hope to do something.

But I still have to bring in a centre-half because I can't just rely on John.

He's a fantastic player when fit. He had a personal physio at the World Cup and didn't train at all over there.

Bruce rubbished reports he had tabled a £7m bid for England and West Ham defender Matthew Upson.

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is expected to make his Sunderland debut tonight against Munster (7.45pm).

Source: Northern_Echo