SUNDERLAND are among the clubs hoping to sign Blackburn Rovers’ star man Junior Hoilett in the wake of the Lancashire club’s relegation last night.
The 21-year-old will play his last game for the club when doomed Rovers face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this Sunday.
But the out-of-contract winger will be on the move this summer with Rovers having lost all hope of re-signing him after being relegated to the Championship following their 1-0 defeat to Wigan at Ewood Park last night.
Sunderland will make every effort to bring him to the Stadium of Light this summer as Martin O’Neill looks to make the changes needed to take the club to the next stage of its development.
But they face stiff competition for his signature with Tottenham and Arsenal rumoured to be among a host of clubs interested in the Canadian-born star who plays as a striker or winger.
Newcastle United have also been credited with an interest in the pacy Hoilett, and both Sunderland’s neighbours and the two North London sides could offer him European football next season.
But the Black Cats managed to sign Connor Wickham last summer despite strong competition from Liverpool, and O’Neill can guarantee the developing youngster a starting place in his side, something that other clubs are unlikely to do.
Hoilett has scored seven goals for Rovers this season and has regularly played in an advanced role, but O’Neill is likely to see him as a right-winger, whose speed and directness would offer an alternative to the bustling presence of James McClean on the opposite flank.
The Rovers man, though, also enjoys playing on the left wing where he can use his right foot to cut inside and would also offer McClean the competition O’Neill is looking for to help drive the Irishman’s game forward.
Hoilett will have many options this summer and is highly unlikely to make a swift decision over his future, waiting instead for all the offers to roll in before deciding which way to go.
The Black Cats are still in the process of firming up their transfer targets, but are monitoring the situation at the bottom of the league, and Rovers striker Yakubu and Wolves forward Steven Fletcher have also been monitored.