North-East transfer gossip (Sunderland, Newcastle, Middlesbrough): Thursday, June 26 (From The Northern Echo)
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North-East transfer gossip (Sunderland, Newcastle, Middlesbrough): Thursday, June 26
As one of four Premier League clubs chasing Robert Snodgrass, Sunderland have been patiently waiting to see who jumps first.
Like a guest at the evening do of a wedding when they announce the buffet is now open - an apposite metaphor I think you'll agree - Hull boss Steve Bruce simply couldn't resist and whacked in a £6m bid for the Norwich midfielder.
Norwich turned it down, which is hard to believe given they only paid £3m to sign the Scotsman from Leeds in the first place. It's even harder to believe if you saw Snodgrass play last season.
Unsuprisingly, the Canaries' stance has given Sunderland cold feet, as there's little enthusiasm to pay more than £6m for someone who's due to be playing in the Championship next season.
That doesn't mean Sunderland's interest is over - but it does mean they're unlikely to push things any further until Norwich adopt a more realistic negotiating approach.
Transfer likelihood rating: 3/10
As discussed in yesterday's round-up, Sunderland would like to sign Kurt Zouma on loan from Chelsea.
Aside from being a headline-writer's dream, Zouma is a highly-rated young central defender who was signed from St Etienne in January, and then immediately sent back on loan to the French side.
Jose Mourinho will have to make a decision on a number of his youngsters this summer, but sources in London claim he's keen for Zouma to experience English football next season, although uncertain that he's ready for the Chelsea team.
That could leave the door open for Sunderland to agree a season-long loan deal, and interestingly, sporting director Lee Congerton has already spoken of the potential importance of such deals.
Transfer likelihood rating: 6/10
Vito Mannone finished last season as Sunderland's Player of the Year, only for the arrival of Costel Pantilimon to place his first-team place in doubt.
Italian media reports suggested he'd handed in a transfer request - claims that have been rubbished by Mannone.
Interestingly, Mannone has also said that Gus Poyet has told him that he will be starting next season as Sunderland's number one.
Mind you, Poyet also said that Luis Suarez wouldn't be biting anyone any more after defending the Liverpool striker after he took a chunk out of Branislav Ivanovic. Hmmm.....
First, it was Enner Valencia. Now, the World Cup striker of choice seems to be Islam Slimani, with the Algerian striker having scored a cracker in his side's rout of South Korea at the weekend.
Slimani, who currently plays with Sporting Lisbon, is the latest forward to have been linked with Newcastle, whose pursuit of a new centre-forward has had more false dawns than a Dawn French lookalike contest so far this summer.
Slimani has also been linked with a slew of clubs that include Stoke, West Ham, Marseille and Trabzonspor - a ragtag bunch of suitors if ever there was one.
As we're in World Cup silly season, I'd be taking this one with a pinch of salt. Newcastle have their list of strikers they've been scouting, and while they're not having much luck with it so far, they won't be veering too far away from it whatever happens.
Transfer likelihood rating: 2/10
Mathieu Debuchy spoke to French reporters ahead of France's game with Ecuador last night and said that he missed playing in the Champions League.
I'm not surprised he does - who wouldn't want to hum along with that lovely anthem ahead of a huge group game with Cluj?
Does Debuchy's pining for European competition mean he'll be leaving Newcastle this summer? Not necessarily, although the links with Paris St Germain refuse to go away.
The more Debuchy impresses at this World Cup - the harder it could be for Newcastle to keep him.
Transfer likelihood rating: 5/10
How long can we keep filling the Boro section of this transfer round-up with the news that Aitor Karanka is due back at work at Rockliffe this week? Well, at least for another couple of days I reckon - or at least until he's been spotted badgering Keith Lamb for the access code for the fax machine so he can send off a couple of offers.
The main news on the Boro front is that Derby and Bolton are eyeing each other up aggressively as they attempt to land Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Derby got in first, only for Boro officials to inform their Pride Park counterparts that £1m would not be enough to sign the striker.
The Rams are ready to table an improved offer of £1.25m, although with Bolton waiting in the wings, it's still not certain that will be enough to tempt Boro to shake hands and agree a transfer.
Either way, it now looks extremely unlikely that Jutkiewicz will still be a Boro player next season, with Karanka keen to reinvest the money and wage savings in order to sign a new centre-forward.
However, the Spaniard has already missed out on a couple of his targets, and the longer this continues to drag on, the harder it could be to sign a proven goalscorer capable of spearheading a promotion push.
Transfer likelihood rating: 8/10
One other piece of news from Boro yesterday, as the club confirmed a pre-season friendly with Spanish side Villarreal on Saturday, August 2.