Black Cats boss keen on attacking additions.
Thus far Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill’s movement in the transfer window has been minimal, his only notable addition being in the form of former Aston Villa utility man Carlos Cuellar, but now the Black Cats manager will look to push on with moves to land two high-profile signings as he hopes to build on the upturn in fortunes the Stadium of Light side experienced following his arrival at the North-East club.
O’Neill feels that his attack is in urgent need of improvement and it’s therefore perhaps no surprise that the pair that he is pursuing are indeed players who can both create and finish off moves in the final third.
Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor is Martin O’Neill’s number one summer target and the Northern Irishman will hope that his previous association with the England international will tempt the 25 year old into pushing for a Villa Park exit.
Agbonlahor has completed seven seasons in the Aston Villa first team and may feel that he hasn’t progressed all that much as an individual and though Alex McLeish’s disastrous reign was brought to an end he may not feel that Paul Lambert is all that likely to push the Midlands club back towards the top six.
Sunderland managed just 45 goals last term and had to rely heavily on help from midfield and wide areas with the likes of Sebastian Larsson, Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean weighing with crucial support. O’Neill appears averse to trying to bring in last term’s top-scorer Nicklas Bendtner in on a permanent basis and will instead apply his efforts into putting in a significant offer for Agbonlahor.
O’Neill has taken a very real interest in Man City winger Adam Johnson, who has spent most of his time at the Etihad Stadium warming the bench, making just ten Premier League starts last term. The Sunderland boss will hope that the pull of a move to his hometown club could help lure the England international into forcing an exit from the Premier League title holders.
The Sunderland manager will look to pool funds to offer the 24 year old wide-man a bumper salary to help persuade the former Middlesbrough to give up the huge wage he is receiving at Man City in the hope that Johnson’s ambition to play regular first team football will trump his desire to retain the same earning potential he currently enjoys at Eastlands.
This pair won’t come cheap and one would imagine both targets would cost in excess of £10m each but O’Neill is said to have the backing of owner Ellis Short and Sunderland have recouped in excess of £6m from the sale of Asamoah Gyan to Al Ain as well as cutting their wage bill by releasing or selling another eleven players this summer.
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