Sunderland to swoop on striker hitlist but star trio WON’T be signing

Liverpool's Fabio Borini
Liverpool's Fabio Borini

Sunderland are moving in on the targets they have identified as replacements for Crystal Palace-bound Connor Wickham.

But Charlie Austin and Fabio Borini are NOT among those on Sunderland’s hitlist, despite the pair both being mooted as obvious contenders to boost the Black Cats attack.

Charlie Austin

Charlie Austin

Wickham is expected to be confirmed as a Palace player over the weekend after travelling down to London yesterday to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical with the Eagles.

Sunderland will pocket around £9million when Wickham’s move is rubber-stamped, which will supplement the money already in the club’s transfer kitty for further recruits.

It is thought that Sunderland are already in talks with several clubs over possibilities to take Wickham’s place, rather than confining their search to just one player.

But the Gazette understands that Austin – who netted 18 goals for relegated QPR last season – is not a player that Sunderland are looking at.

Newcastle are the front-runners to sign Austin, who has a £15m asking price on his head, but Sunderland will not be battling with their neighbours for the 26-year-old.

Neither are Sunderland interested in reviving their interest in Borini after their summer-long pursuit of the Italian 12 months ago.

While Borini is surplus to requirements at Liverpool and is on good terms with Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton, Advocaat has turned his attention elsewhere.

Rumours in Turkey that Sunderland have made a big-money bid for forward Moussa Sow – repeatedly linked with the Black Cats over recent seasons – are also thought to be wide of the mark.

The money gained from Wickham’s imminent exit has given Sunderland some room to manoeuvre in the transfer market though.

After the addition of four players to the squad last month, Sunderland’s spending had been temporarily put on hold, until Congerton was able to remove some of the dead-wood from the wage bill.

But after Palace met Sunderland’s asking price for Wickham this week, the 22-year-old’s switch to Selhurst Park has freed up a sizeable chunk of wages, while also topping up the funds for further recruits.