Sunderland’s Jeremain Lens closing in on a move to Besiktas

Jeremain Lens.
Jeremain Lens.

Jeremain Lens looks to be closing in on a move to Besiktas after the Turkish side finally stepped up their interest.

Having publicly confirmed their interest earlier in the summer, they are thought to have made an opening bid which Sunderland have knocked back.

Sunderland will not stand in the Dutchman’s way, providing their valuation is met.

The 29-year-old signed from Dynamo Kiev for £8 million and the Black Cats will want to recoup a chunk of that fee to to allow Simon Grayson to invest in his squad.

Grayson admitted last weekend that moving players on will be crucial to bringing in new players, at least on a permanent basis. Lens is one of the biggest earners in the current squad.

Lens is likely to be keen on the move to Besiktas. The Turkish side are investing heavily in their squad this summer and have already brought in Pepe from Real Madrid.

His initial preference was to stay with Fenerbahce but financial fair play concerns meant they could not move and Besiktas would offer the chance to return to Istanbul.

Sunderland will know wait to see if Besiktas match their valuation.

Reports on Friday have also suggested that Sunderland could face competition to sign trialist Robbin Ruiter on a permanent deal.

Simon Grayson wants to bring the Dutchman in after an impressive two games against Bradford and Scunthorpe United.

Any deal is dependent on the 30-year-old’s wage demands, with Hull City and Burnley said to be monitoring the situation.

Burnley are likely to be looking for a new goalkeeper following Paul Robinson’s retirement, though Hull still have David Marshall and Allan McGregor on their books, as well as the emerging William Mannion.

l Organisation, fitness and hunger.

That is new Sunderland signing Jason Steele’s checklist to succeed in the notoriously competitive second tier of English football.

Steele, who has over 200 Championship appearances under his belt, echoed Simon Grayson’s regular pre-season message that adjusting to the physical demands of the league will be crucial.

He said: “You have to be organised, fit, and hungry – I’d say they are the main things you need to succeed in this league. If you do that, and have some individual quality, you will win more than you lose.

“It is relentless – it’s Saturday-Tuesday, more or less for eight months. Anyone who tells you that’s not tough is telling lies – it’s physically and mentally draining.

“The best teams, the ones that go up, stay hungry, focused, and work hard for each other week-in and week-out.

“That’s what we are building here.”

Steele also said that Sunderland will need to be proactive and go searching for wins if they are to enjoy a successful season.

With the league table invariably offering only a small points gap between most of the teams in the division, Steele said winning games becomes even more valuable.

He said: “Draws are no good. You’re better off losing two and winning two”