Race Hots Up For Celtic Striker Hooper

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Sunderland now hoping to snap up goal machine.

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The race to sign Celtic striker Gary Hooper is now beginning to take shape as Sunderland hope to pip Premier League rivals Norwich City and Southampton to his signature, according to the Daily Mail.

The 25-year-old came close to joining Norwich in the January transfer window but the Canaries were ultimately put off by his £8.5 valuation. However, Celtic have now knocked £1 million off the asking price forcing a number of clubs to pay attention.

Sunderland are hoping to overhaul their squad this summer after coming dangerously close to the relegation zone and boss Paolo Di Canio sees Hooper as the ideal partner for Steven Fletcher.

Di Canio, along with Southampton and Norwich, are hoping to offer just £4.5 million for the player despite Celtic lowering their original asking price. If Celtic accept the knockdown bid, Sunderland will be thought to be in the driving seat as they can offer bigger wages than their rivals.

The Sunderland manager is also set for talks with a number of his players as he looks to rebuild and reshape. Stephane Sessegnon, Danny Graham, Connor Wickham and Ji Dong Won while Craig Gardner and Seb Larsson are to hold talks about their future. Defender Phil Bardsley will also go.

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