Sunderland Still In Running For Top Swedish Prospect

Valmir Berisha in action against Argentina

Sunderland are one of three clubs still in the running for Sweden u17 star Valmir Berisha.

Valmir Berisha, who has been dubbed 'The New Zlatan Ibrahimovic', talked earlier this month about the possibility of joining Sunderland, however there was huge competition for the highly rated young striker, with the number of clubs interested in signing him believed to be between 30 and 35.

Those clubs included the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham, Celtic, Ajax, Real Madrid, Juventus, Sevilla, Villarreal, Inter Milan, Hannover, Werder Bremen and Borussia Monchengladbach, while the player himself rejected the chance to go on trial at Manchester United and Arsenal.

Faced with such competition, Sunderland had their work cut out to convince the young star that his future lay at the Stadium of Light, however it has emerged that the club are one of only three clubs still in the running to sign the 17-year-old.

According to Kvallsposten, the three clubs remaining are in Italy and England, with one of those being Sunderland and the player has denied reports in Italy that he had agreed to join AC Milan;

No, I have not. I have not been in Italy and Milan are not among the clubs that are left.

The player also stated that he has visited the three clubs left fighting for his services;

I have visited the three clubs that I will choose between, I've met the coaches and players and seen various venues.

With the player only being 17, he understands that it will be unlikely he will go straight into first-team contention but will not be joining to be an academy player;

I will join as a senior player. But then I will play u21 football for the club I join.

It is not realistic to think that I will go from u19 football in Halmstad to senior league abroad. But if I do well in the u21 team, I might get to sit on the bench for the first team.

The transfer is expected to go through quickly in the New Year, with all three clubs willing to pay Halmstad an education grant of around £375,000 due to the player being out of contract at the Swedish club.

If Sunderland do manager to clinch the transfer of Berisha, it will be quite the coup for a player who was top scorer at the recent u17 World Cup (including a hat-trick against Argentina) and considering the competition we have faced for his signature.

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