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Black Cats Pounce Early

Sunderland have stated their intention in attempting to improve last season’s league table position of 10th by looking to invest heavily in their squad.

The Black Cats have money available through the surprise transfer of Darren Bent to Aston Villa in January for £24m. Bruce could not use the funds then due to his targets not being available and because the market prices were so inflated. The Sunderland manager will look to bring in a couple of strikers as Danny Welbeck has returned to Manchester United after a successful loan spell.

Bruce was so short of attacking options at the tail end of last season that he even had to deploy midfielder Stephane Sessegnon as an emergency striker. Another blow for the Wearside outfit is that Frazier Campbell will be out for another year due to a serious knee injury.

Added to the sale of Bent, the injury to Campbell and the loss of Welbeck is that local lad Jordan Henderson was sold to Liverpool for £20m. Even though Sunderland have got a substantial fee for a 21-year-old who has played just over 70 Premier League games – he will still be a big miss to Sunderland’s engine room.

Bruce has already moved to replace Henderson with the signings of Sebastian Larsson and Craig Gardner from Bruce’s old club Birmingham City. Larsson and former Coventry goalkeeper Kieren Westwood were both free transfers so Sunderland’s transfer chest has hardly been touched.

However, Sky Sports believe Sunderland have bid for Liverpool striker David N’Gog and South Korean Ji Dong-won. The Black Cats have also been linked with Manchester United trio Wes Brown, Darron Gibson and John O’Shea. If all five transfers go through, they would be looking at spending all of the money they gained from Henderson’s sale.

It was announced on Wednesday that England Under-21 striker Connor Wickham would be having a medical at Sunderland. If they were to seal the deal it would be a massive coup as Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have all been vying for his services.

Sunderland will have a successful season if Steve Bruce can secure the deals that are currently in the pipeline. It will also mean the Wearside faithful will not miss Bent and Henderson as much as originally thought.

Anthony Hay

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