Sunderland; Jan 2008 Transfer Window Diary - Week 2

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Hugh Larkin


Hugh Larkin has a definite policy to support underdogs. Can be relied upon to support any team against Real Madrid and hopes one day to see Walsall as the top West Midland side....
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14/01/2008 10:00:00.
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Roy Keane has still been talking about adding four players to his squad this week and his key target seems to be Readingís Stephen Hunt. Despite the Royals reluctance to sell, the Black Cats have been back with another offer.

Steve Coppell may want to keep the Irish international but he is dealing with a club that ranks 10th on the European transfer spending list according to World Soccer magazine. It remains to be seen just how high the manager and Chairman Niall Quinn are prepared to go to land their man.

These are the times for hard decisions at the Stadium of Light. Like great bosses before him, Keane is facing up to the task of allowing players who had served him well to leave. Ross Wallace is the surprise name on the list of those that Sunderland would listen to offers for.

The left sided player was an early Keane signing who shared in the glorious run to the Championship title- at the beginning of the campaign few would have tipped him as likely to be surplus to requirements

Itís less surprising to see David Connolly and Stephen Wright on the list but Greg Halford only arrived in the summer yet the local press believe the defender could be on the way out after rarely convincing in his first team starts.

In addition, the proposed arrival of Quinton Fortune, which the Sunderland Echo said was imminent at the end of last week, hasnít materialised as yet. This coming week should tell if that deal still has any mileage.

The Hunt story has been the headline grabber but the club are still one of the teams tracking Portsmouthís Matthew Taylor- home fans will ruefully remember his wonder goal at the Stadium of Light last season

Hunt and Taylor are the two players with whom Sunderland have been most strongly linked. After that pair the names of Bobo Balde and Wes Brown are next most rumoured.

Both defenders have been connected with any number of clubs recently and given Roy Keaneís penchant for signing men he played alongside, they have inevitably been stories about moves to the North East. However, the reports on both men originated in December- there has been nothing in January to indicate positive contact.

The Sunderland boss has alluded to the absence of a decent scouting system at the club when he took over, which partly explains the plethora of signings with Manchester United, Celtic or Ireland connexions.

Unlike the rest of the Premiership, the Black Cats are not being linked to signings from overseas. Other names being touted are Blackburnís Jason Roberts and Readingís Steve Sidwell- again, two men from the Premiership.

Sidwell is bound to attract interest from a lot of clubs but with Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel at the African Nations Cup, Avram Grant probably needs to keep the midfield cover. The ex-Reading man is a likely summer mover though.

Hunt and Taylor are definite targets and Jonny Evans is on board but much else is speculation and there is the feeling that Roy Keane has a target out there which the press havenít latched on to yet. It may even be a signing from outside the UK.

There is certainly a lot to do in what remains of the window but one thing is certain- the Board will back the manager with the funds and Sunderland will have more new faces by February.

Premier League Jan 2008 Transfer Window - Week 2 Round-up


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Tony Ratton:

Even though Sundays 2.0 win over Pompey was arguably our best performance of the season. The Wearsiders still need at least 3/4 more signings to give us a realistic chance of staying in the premiership this season. Its now up to chief exceuitive Peter Walker to deliver. †

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