Austrian stars on Sunderland’s radar after scouting mission

Aleksandar Dragovic
Aleksandar Dragovic

Sunderland have been keeping tabs on several transfer targets away on international duty during the break from Premier League action.

The Black Cats’ bid to remain in the top flight rests on a knife-edge as they prepare to resume their survival bid in a crunch encounter against West Brom this weekend.

But the uncertainty over Sunderland’s Premier League status has not halted the club’s search for new recruits after scouts have watched several friendlies during the international break.

Sunderland were among the English clubs represented for Austria’s clash against Turkey on Tuesday night, with Everton, Stoke and Leicester also present in Vienna.

It is not the first time this season that the Black Cats have watched Austria in action after scouting at least one of their Euro 2016 qualifiers in the Autumn.

Austrian centre-halves Martin Hinteregger and Aleksandar Dragovic have both attracted Premier League interest this season, with the pair currently at Borussia Munchengladbach and Dynamo Kiev respectively.

Turkish left-back Caner Erkin also has several admirers on these shores, with Everton and Liverpool both strongly linked to the Fenerbahce man.

Sunderland were also in the stands for Scotland’s 1-0 win against Denmark, with Toulouse frontman Martin Braithwaite thought to be the subject of their interest.

Braithwaite was introduced as a half-time substitute at Hampden Park, but was denied a goal by an excellent save from former Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon.

Sunderland appointed ex-Leeds man Martin Glover as the club’s new head of recruitment in January after he had enjoyed spells working under Sam Allardyce at both Blackburn and West Ham.

And since the end of the transfer window, Sunderland have continued to be active in looking at possible new acquisitions for this summer, predominantly on the Continent.

The Black Cats, in particular, have been looking at the French market, which proved to be a successful route in January after the £14million outlay on Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri.