Sunderland interested in Kranjcar - but quick deal is unlikely

11 August 2011 08:00
SUNDERLAND boss Steve Bruce has expressed an interest in Niko Kranjcar, but Tottenham are reluctant to allow the Croatian midfielder to leave White Hart Lane on loan.

Having been unable to recruit Charles N'Zogbia this summer, Bruce remains on the look out for someone to play on the left-hand side of midfield.

The Black Cats boss is operating to a reasonably tight budget having spent more than £22m to recruit nine players since the transfer window opened in June.

Funds are available, but once wages are added to the equation, Bruce will struggle to attract a high enough calibre of player to compete for a place in Sunderland's first team.

As a result, he is once again eyeing the loan market, and Kranjcar has emerged as a leading target.

The 26-year-old came close to joining Dynamo Kiev earlier this summer, only for Tottenham's asking price of around £10m to scupper any possibility of a move to the Ukrainian capital.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy's demands have effectively scared off all other potential suitors, and sources in London claim the White Hart Lane hierarchy have accepted they are unlikely to find Kranjcar a new permanent home this summer.

They could opt to loan him out, a move which would free up some room on the wage bill for Harry Redknapp to make signings of his own.

However, they are reluctant to do so until Redknapp has his incomings sorted, and that means there is little chance of a swift move to Sunderland.

Black Cats officials will continue to monitor the situation, but Bruce will take his squad to Liverpool on Saturday without an orthodox left midfielder.

There will also be no John O'Shea, as the former Manchester United defender has not recovered from the hamstring injury he sustained at the start of the pre-season period.

In O'Shea's absence, Wes Brown is expected to partner Titus Bramble at centre-half, with Phil Bardsley switching to right-back and Kieran Richardson starting on the left.

"We don't think (O'Shea will feature at Anfield) and I would be unwise to rush him back," said Bruce. "He's close, but he's got a hamstring strain so we have to make sure he's right.

"When he is right and plays he'll be all the better for it because John O'Shea is a big acquisition for this football club."

While O'Shea will not be involved in two days time, Jordan Henderson is expected to make his full Liverpool debut against the team that sold him to the Reds two months ago.

Henderson was born and raised as a Sunderland supporter, and Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has called for the Black Cats' travelling fans not to turn against their former hero.

"Obviously Jordan is one they've lost," said Dalglish. "He's a good player who they would have been understandably reluctant to let go.

"But sometimes, as a manager, you've got to be philosophical and say if a player wants to go, we should let him leave. I don't think (Sunderland's supporters) will have any animosity towards Jordan."

Another player left Wearside yesterday, with George McCartney rejoining West Ham United on a season-long loan.

The Northern Ireland international left Upton Park to start a second spell with Sunderland in 2008, but the £4.5m switch has proved largely unsuccessful. McCartney did not make a single senior appearance for the Black Cats last season, and spent most of his time on loan at Leeds.

"It will be great to be playing again for a club like West Ham," said McCartney. "It is a big opportunity for me and I can't wait to get started again. I am looking forward to being part of the manager's squad and the club's push for promotion."

Source: Northern_Echo