SUNDERLAND were last night on the verge of making a bid for Tottenham and England striker Jermain Defoe.
The Journal understands the Wearsiders have taken major steps over the last 48 hours to see if the 29-year-old would be willing to agree on a move, permanent or on loan, to the Stadium of Light.
We can reveal Wolves have asked the Black Cats in the region of £20million for Steven Fletcher, a figure which includes the add-ons which would come into play should he play a certain amount of first-team games and reach a scoring target. There is no way Sunderland would be willing to stump up so much for the Scot, no matter how much they want him.
However, a way around this problem could be to loan out one or two of their fringe players that Martin O’Neill deems surplus to requirements for the immediate future.
No matter what happens, the Irishman needs to sign two attacking players during this transfer window.
Defoe is a proven Premier League striker with almost 200 career goals to his name, the vast majority coming in the top flight.
He scored against Watford for Tottenham in a friendly this week, but there is apparently no long-term future for him at the club under new manager Andre Villas-Boas.
The former West Ham and Portsmouth star has won 48 caps for England.
While the Londoner was not an automatic first-choice at White Hart Lane under Harry Redknapp last season, he still managed 17 goals from 38 appearances – and eleven of them came in the Premier League from just eleven starts.
This is the sort of form and reliability O’Neill wants in his side if he is to take Sunderland forward.
While a move for Ireland winger Aiden McGeady appeared to be dead a few weeks ago, we understand this is again a possibility.
However, the Wearsiders are finding similar problems with his club Spartak Moscow, who are demanding close to £12m for the 25-year-old former Celtic star.
O’Neill is typically refusing to talk publicly about any of his
targets because they are “other clubs’ players” but admitted he hoped some business could be concluded before next Saturday’s trip to Arsenal.
The Fletcher debacle is something O’Neill could do without and more than likely did not envisage.
Wolves £7m record signing handed in a written transfer request on Wednesday to the club’s chief executive Jez Moxey.
Wolves put out a statement that said: “Wolves can confirm Steven Fletcher has handed in an official transfer request.
“The player’s frustration stems from the fact several bids have been rejected for his services, none of which have met the club’s valuation.
“As previously stated, no player will leave Wolves unless the club’s valuation is met.”