Sunderland linked with swoop for Scharner

CATS TARGET? ... former West Bromwich Albion player Paul Scharner.
CATS TARGET? ... former West Bromwich Albion player Paul Scharner.

SUNDERLAND have been linked with a loan move for former West Brom midfielder Paul Scharner, with the Austrian claiming he is close to a Premier League return.

Reports in Germany suggest the Black Cats are interested in taking Scharner on loan until the end of the season from Hamburger SV despite him only joining the Bundesliga club last summer.

The Austrian international penned a lucrative two-year deal with Hamburger after leaving West Brom on a free transfer, but has featured in just four league games due to injury and two red cards.

Hamburger are keen to offload Scharner from the wage bill and are prepared to sanction a loan exit, with the 32-year-old claiming he has held talks with one Premier League club prior to Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Scharner said: “There is interest from a Premier League club and in the coming days, it will be made concrete.

“As a professional you want to play. I have not had a lot of opportunities here so of course, this is interesting to me.”

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill has already shown he is prepared to enter the loan market after landing Senegalese centre-half Kader Mangane until the end of the season.

O’Neill was also interested in signing ex-Everton midfielder Tim Cahill on a two-month loan during the MLS off-season, only for the deal to fall through when New York Red Bulls shortened the length of the Australian’s stay.

Scharner, equally comfortable at centre-half, falls into the same category as Cahill, as an available player with plenty of Premier League experience after making more than 200 top-flight appearances during six years with Wigan and then West Brom.