The Gossip: England Striker Back On Cats Radar?

POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 16: Jermain Defoe during the 2011 Vodacom Challenge match between Kaizer Chiefs and Tottenham Hotspur from Peter Mokaba Stadium on July 16, 2011 in Polokwane, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivmabu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Well, I don't know what to tell you. Frankly, I am running out of intros for this feature and fast.

STILL no actual signings to talk about. The week has, of course, been dominated once again by talk of Steven Fletcher following his transfer request. Since then it has all been a mess of bluff, counter-bluff, bluster, and jostling for position, but it is still very difficult to envisage a scenario in which he does not end up a Sunderland player this summer. Lets face it, we more than most are all too familiar with what tends to happen when players decide they want to be away.

But, although you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise of late, this is not a Steven Fletcher blog. So lets get on with seeing what other gossip there has been about the club this week in the media.

First of all the formalities. Here is the updated list of all the players Sunderland have been linked with so far this summer by any media with the merest crumb of credibility.

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)
Vurnun Anita (Ajax)
Hugo Rodallega (Free Agent)
Nathenial Clyne (Crystal Palace)
Tongo Hamed Doumbia (Rennes)
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)
James Collins (Aston Villa)
Vassilis Torosidis (Olympiakos)
Facundo Ferreyra (Banfield)
Arouna Kone (Levante)
Didier Ya Konan (Hannover)
Scott Sinclair (Swansea)
Peter Odemwingie (WBA)
Aly Cissokho (Lyon)
Scott Dann (Blackburn)

Just two more this week, then, taking us to 62 in total.

What you will notice immediately is the new names are both defenders. We must have already been linked with all the strikers on the planet. Had to happen sooner or later I suppose.

Aly Cissokho is a stand-out name. The French international's agent has said he intends to depart this summer and would like to move to either England or Italy and, as with most left backs, Sunderland's name has been tossed into the fray as a club who are reportedly 'monitoring' the player.

The Scott Dann link was an odd one, simply because he is a central defender and there appears to be very little need right now to spend money in that area. Dann does tend to be linked around, however, which gives you the impression he has an agent who likes to drum up a bit of interest. That said, Dann is not the first Blackburn player to be linked, and with Blackburn themselves said to be interested in Matt Kilgallon and Fraizer Campbell, some kind of exchange between the clubs is at least conceivable.

In general, though, this has been a week for older links to be rekindled and strengthened. The local press have picked up the Jermain Defoe link and stressed that it is NOT a case of either/or with regards him and Fletcher. O'Neill wants them both, and let me assure you that should he succeed the scenes here at Roker Report Towers would be most unsuitable for younger viewers. Best leave that one at that...

Another link that has also re-emerged is that of Aiden McGeady. There has been murmerings about the Republic of Ireland winger all summer, but this week the usually reliable Duncan Castles claimed the player himself was 'pushing for a move to Sunderland', while the local press also suggested a deal was very much a possibility. For those counting, that makes two players this week who are pleading with their clubs to let them party with Marty.

Interestingly, in the same piece Castles suggested that the mystery virus that kept John Guidetti out of Euro 2012 could delay or even scupper entirely his move to the Sunderland. That situation is one to watch with interest.

Meanwhile, another strong link from earlier in window seems to have never actually got started. The agent of Sporting Lisbon's Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel insists there has been no enquiries for the player and he is happy to remain in Portugal for next season.

Right then, that's probably your lot for another week. Now stop stressing about transfers and go and enjoy your last week of the summer before football returns and ruins all our lives!

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