Sunderland step up striker hunt after fighting off interest in Jermain Defoe
Several Premier League clubs were circling around Jermain Defoe prior to the Sunderland striker penning a new contract at the Stadium of Light earlier this month.
But, with Sunderland quashing the interest in Defoe by extending his deal, Sam Allardyce’s main focus at the formal opening of the transfer window is to recruit an extra frontman to complement the Black Cats Player of the Year.
Defoe added an extra year to his Sunderland tenure earlier this month, to take his contract through to the summer of 2019 – by which time the England international will be 36.
After a haul of 15 Premier League goals last season proved crucial towards keeping Sunderland in the top flight, Defoe unquestionably merited fresh terms after proving his quality at the highest level, even at the tail end of his career.
However, it is now understood that Sunderland were also wary of interest from several other Premier League clubs, who were eyeing a summer move for the 33-year-old.
Defoe’s former club Bournemouth were linked with the ex-Spurs frontman both last summer and in January, yet they were not the only club who were keeping tabs on the poacher.
But, with Defoe penning a new deal, Allardyce can turn his focus on bringing in an extra frontman, which is understood to be paramount among the five positions that the Sunderland boss wants to strengthen this summer.
The transfer window formally opens on Friday and Allardyce wants a player who can play alongside Defoe, OR offer an alternative, with Fabio Borini the only other forward on the club’s books who can operate as a central striker.
Sunderland are thought to still be attempting to land Diafra Sakho, despite seeing a bid rejected by West Ham for the Senegal international.
And speculation in Italy continues to link Sunderland with ex-Manchester City frontman Edin Dzeko, despite the Roma striker’s £140,000-a-week wages.
Reports over the weekend suggested that Sunderland are prepared to offer in excess of £100,000 a week for Dzeko, who swapped Manchester City for Roma just 12 months ago.
However, while Sunderland are keen to bring in a new frontman of Dzeko’s calibre, it is highly unlikely that the Black Cats would offer a salary which is so much bigger than their current top earner.
Sunderland sources have also raised question marks over splashing out £11million on a 30-year-old.