SUNDERLAND yesterday completed a £7m double deal for Liam Bridcutt and Ignacio Scocco, but despite already adding five players this month, the club’s January business might not be finished yet.
The Black Cats are pondering a deadline-day offer for Leeds United striker Ross McCormack, and have not given up their pursuit of Valencia midfielder Ever Banega despite Bridcutt’s arrival on Wearside.
There will be at least one further departure on what is likely to be a busy deadline day, with Modibo Diakite having undergone a medical at Fiorentina last night, a matter of hours after Alfred N’Diaye joined Real Betis on loan.
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And Sunderland could also have to make tough decisions about Phil Bardsley, Lee Cattermole and Steven Fletcher ahead of tonight’s 11pm deadline, with all three the subject of strong outside interest.
Bridcutt travelled to Wearside for a medical yesterday after Brighton finally accepted a £3m offer for the midfielder, who formed a strong bond with Gustavo Poyet when the pair were together at the Amex Stadium.
The 24-year-old should be confirmed as a Sunderland player later today, following hot on the heels of Scocco, whose £4m switch from Argentinian side Internacional was completed yesterday.
Scocco, who has signed a two-and-a-half year deal, is available to face Newcastle United tomorrow, having watched his new side in action against Stoke City on Wednesday.
“Everybody here at Sunderland welcomed me very nicely,” said the striker. “I had my first training session (yesterday) morning. I watched Sunderland against Stoke and I liked what I saw, especially in the first half. I’ll have to prove my worth.”
Scocco might not be Sunderland’s only new striker by the end of tonight as Black Cat officials are understood to have expressed an interest in McCormack.
Leeds are resigned to losing McCormack after a consortium linked with a potential takeover withdrew their interest yesterday, and are understood to be demanding a down payment of £3.5m for the Scotsman, with a further £1m of potential add-ons.
West Ham had a bid for McCormack turned down earlier this week, and are expected to return with an improved offer of their own later today.
Sunderland’s interest in the 27-year-old suggests they will be willing to listen to offers for Fletcher on the final day of the window, with Wednesday’s lacklustre substitute outing merely the latest in a long line of disappointing displays.
Stoke and Celtic have both inquired about Fletcher’s potential availability, although the Black Cats would be looking to recoup a significant chunk of the £12m they shelled out to sign the Scotland international in the summer of 2012.
Stoke also hold a long-standing interest in Cattermole, and Bridcutt’s arrival has been interpreted as the trigger for a deal involving the Teessider. Things are not quite that clear cut as Sunderland are not actively looking to sell Cattermole. If a bid of around £5m was received, however, they would not turn it down.
Bardsley’s situation is similar, and having had an initial approach for the full-back rejected earlier this week, Fulham returned with a fresh offer yesterday evening.
It was also rebuffed, but given that Bardsley is due to become a free agent in the summer, Sunderland could relent and take their final opportunity to cash in. Earlier this week, however, Poyet talked about offering a new deal to the 28-year-old.
N’Diaye’s loan move to Real Betis was confirmed yesterday, with a view to a permanent switch to the Spanish side in the summer, and Diakite has agreed to join Fiorentina in a similar arrangement.