Olympiacos to rival Sunderland for Cuellar

The Northern Echo: TARGET: Former Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar TARGET: Former Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar

GREEK side Olympiacos will rival Sunderland for the capture of former Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar.

Cuellar, who is a free agent following his release from Villa Park at the end of last season, has already held preliminary discussions with Sunderland officials.

However, Olympiacos confirmed their desire to sign the 30-year-old over the weekend, and officials from the Athens club are hoping to meet with Cuellar's representatives this week.

Olympiacos' summer plans were thrown into disarray on Friday when Greece international Avraam Papadopoulos suffered a knee ligament injury that could rule him out for up to 12 months.

Sporting director Darko Kovacevic chaired a series of weekend talks, and Cuellar emerged as a leading option.

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is also hoping to recruit the former Rangers centre-half, who has already received an approach from Spanish side Osasuna.

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