The Gossip: O'Neill Tracking Ivorian Striker

Arouna Kone of Levante the latest striker to be linked with Sunderland (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Another week closer to the season, and inexplicably the first team squad is getting smaller, not bigger. Some solid transfer news regarding Sunderland finally broke on Wednesday, but it was about Michael Turner's departure to Norwich.

We wish him all the best, but it is incomings that we are really interested in, and as per usual there are plenty of new names to get stuck into.

Lets round up the weeks gossip.

Lets start, as usual, with a full list of players the press have credited Sunderland with an interest in this summer.

Steven Fletcher (Wolves)
Victor Moses (Wigan)
Stephen Ward (Wolves)
Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow)
Adam Johnson (Manchester City)
John Guidetti (Manchester City)
Wilifred Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa)
Karl Henry (Wolves)
Jay Rodriguez (Burnley)
Hassan Hissein (Foullah Edifice)
Manuel Fernandes (Besitkas)
Jorge Fucile (Porto)
Junior Hoilett (Blackburn Rovers)
Robert Huth (Stoke)
Liam Trotter (Millwall)
Mohamed Diame (Wigan)
Carlos Cuellar (Free Agent)
Steven N'Zonzi (Blackburn)
Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson (Lillestrom)
Grant Holt (Norwich)
Jese (Real Madrid Castilla)
Steven Pienaar (Tottenham)
Danny Guthrie (Newcastle)
Joselu (Real Madrid Castilla)
Matt Jarvis (Wolves)
Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea)
Matt Phillips (Blackpool)
Zak Whitbread (Free Agent)
Steven Warnock (Aston Villa)
Moussa Kone (Atalanta)
Ola John (FC Twente)
Pavel Pogrebnyak (Stuttgart)
Ola Toivonen (PSV)
Alvaro Vazquez (Espanyol)
Yoan Gouffran (Bordeaux)
Luis Saha (Free Agent)
Keith Andrews (Free Agent)
Abdou Kader Mangane (Rennes)
Ibrahima Balde (Osasuna)
Kevin Doyle (Wolves)
Kevin Mirallas (Olympiakos)
Burak Yilmaz (Trabzonspor)
Martin Olsson (Blackburn)
Siake Tiene (PSG)
Sylvain Armand (PSG)
Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Sporting Lisbon)
Ivan Ramis (Real Mallorca)
Vurnon Anita (Ajax)
Hugo Rodallega (Free Agent)
Nathenial Clyne (Crystal Palace)
Tongo Hamed Doumbia (Rennes)
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)
James Collins (Aston Villa)
Vasilis Torosidis (Olympiakos)
Facundo Ferreyra (Banfield)
Arouna Kone (Levante)

Phew. Three new names, which makes 57 in total.

The stand-out new name on this list is the last one, Arouna Kone. Levante's Ivorian striker was linked with Sunderland by the Daily Mirror last week.

Anything in it? Well you can't really rule it out I suppose. He is a player with a quite unremarkable career up until last season, and you always struggle to see Martin O'Neill being too active in the foreign markets. If Gabriel Agbonlahor is a target, though, as is alleged, then Kone could easily be one too given there are similarities between the two in terms of position, stature, and style.

As for those previously linked - well David Hoilett has finally opted to sign for someone. He has decided that QPR and their 'project', which is usually just another word for money, is his best bet. His former Blackburn teammate, Steven N'Zonzi - another player persistently linked with Sunderland this summer - also looks like going elsewhere. The Frenchmen is being reported to be on the verge of a loan move to Sevilla.

Back again next week with another update.

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