Sunderland to step up Speroni chase

OSCAR OUT: Oscar Ustari
OSCAR OUT: Oscar Ustari

SUNDERLAND will try to progress the signing of ex-Crystal Palace stopper Julian Speroni, in the wake of both Keiren Westwood and Oscar Ustari leaving the Black Cats.

Westwood’s departure after three frustrating seasons at the Stadium of Light yielded only 18 Premier League starts, is no surprise.

But the exit of former Almeira keeper Ustari was more unexpected, with the Argentinian having signed a deal until the end of the season, and Sunderland thought to be ready to offer him another as understudy to first choice Vito Mannone.

Sunderland coach Poyet had privately given Ustari rave reviews on his ability and professionalism, and seemed set to offer him another contract.

But the keeper himself has decided he wants first-team football, and Sunderland are not in a position to offer him that.

Now, the 27-year-old is hoping for a return to Spanish football after doing his reputation no harm during a five-month spell in the Premier League.

Sunderland meanwhile, will look to bring in Speroni as an experienced deputy to Mannone for next season.

The 35-year-old Argentinian is well-known to Poyet, with the two South Americans on friendly terms.

And Crystal Palace’s somewhat surprising decision to release the long-serving keeper is likely to be to Sunderland’s benefit.

Speroni played 39 games for the Eagles last season, and played his part in their impressive Premier League revival and survival.

But Palace boss Tony Pulis has decided to go in a different direction this summer, and the release of Speroni is likely to provide a neat solution for Sunderland to the departure of Ustari.

Although Speroni is in his mid-30s he has proven himself fit enough to withstand the rigours of a full Premier League season, and at this stage of his career is likely to be ready to sign on as a deputy to Mannone.

Speroni may be foreign but he has played in British football since 2001 – three years at Dundee before joining Palace in 2004 – and as such fits into the Black Cats’ plans this summer of signing players experienced in English football in general and Premier League football in particular.

n Sevilla have emerged as potential suitors for the signature of Sunderland midfielder Alfred N’Diaye.

The 24-year-old Martin O’Neill signing knows he is surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light under Gus Poyet and has expressed a desire to move to Spain after spending the second half of last season on loan at Real Betis.

He impressed at Betis after joining them on loan in the January transfer window but could not save the club from a relegation which looked certain even before he arrived.

Betis would have liked to have exercised their £3.4m option to sign N’Diaye - especially had they stayed up.

But he has made it clear he wants to play in the Spanish top flight and Betis’ city neighbours Sevilla are considering offering him that chance.

N’Diaye joined Sunderland from Turkish side Bursaspor for £3.8m in January last year but Paolo Di Canio opted to send him back to Turkey on loan to Eskisehirspor last summer.