Gossip: England International Linked As Midfielders Dominate Transfer Talk

Richard Heathcote

It has been another bumper week for Sunderland transfer gossip. Allow us to bring you up to speed.

Okay, we admit we are struggling to keep up a little at this point. With so many names linked, perhaps it is time to do a little housekeeping and seeing which of the more persistent ones we can probably dismiss.

First of all, though, the formalities. Here is the updated list of players strongly linked with Sunderland so far this summer:

Valentin Roberge (Maritimo)
Mobido Diakite (Lazio)
Diogo Viana (F.C. Penafiel)
Danny Rose (Tottenham)
Emmanuel Cascione (Pescara)
Danilo D'Ambrosio (Torino)
El Hadji Ba (Le Havre)
Mauro Zarate (Lazio)
Bas Dost (Wolfsburg)
George Mandjeck (Auxerre)
Charlie Austin (Burnley)
Alfred Finnbogason (SC Heerenveen)
Greg Sandomierski (Genk)
Tom Allan (York City)
Salif Sane (Nancy)
Cabral (Basel)
Lucas Orban (Tigre)
Gary Hooper (Celtic)
Fraser Forster (Celtic)
Milos Krasic (Fenerbache)
Wilfried Bony (Vitesse)
Grant Holt (Norwich)
Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa)
Pulinho (Lazio)
Nacho Scocco (Al Ain)
Reto Ziegler (Juventus)
John Guidetti (Manchester City)
Josuha Guilavogui (Saint-Étienne)
Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli)
Luis Pedro Cavanda (Lazio)
Joseph Alfred Duncan (Inter Milan)
Alessandro Rosina (Siena)
Jonathan Biabiany (Parma)
Benjamin Mendy (La Havre)
Scott Parker (Tottenham)
Johan Elmander (Galatasaray)
Abel Hernandez (Palermo)
Remi Gomis (Valenciennes)
Matěj Vydra (Udinese)
Mejdi Traoui (Espérance de Tunis)

So 11 fresh names linked this week taking our running today up to 40.

One name we can immediately forget about is that of Diogo Viana. The Portuguese winger had been one of the very first names to be persistently linked with Sunderland this summer but he has now joined Gil Vicente on a 2-year-deal.

Scott Parker is, of course, the most eye-catching new name to emerge this week. The Daily Mirror are fairly speculative that Paulo Di Canio is very keen on the Spurs man.

It's a difficult rumour to buy, in all honesty. Considering the player is in his 30's, has struggled with injuries of late, is lacking in mobility, athleticism, and hunger, and will immediately lose value the second the ink on his next contract is dry, he appears to neatly encapsulate everything Sunderland are trying to get away from this summer.

It is also worth bearing in mind that Di Canio likes pace, power, and strength down the spine of his team. Therefore it is difficult to envisage him providing those requirements to Roberto De Fanti and Valentino Angeloni - people brought to the club because of their wealth of global footballing knowledge - and them coming back with the name of an over-the-hill one-paced plodder at one of the highest profile clubs in our own country.

It looks more like the story has been put out by Spurs sources seeking to use Sunderland's name to advertise the availability of the Parker to genuine bidders. - you know, London clubs.

The profile of Joseph Alfred Duncan, who was strongly linked this week, however, much more closely fits the Sunderland template this summer.

The Inter Milan midfielder is considered an emerging talent rather than a declining one, is certainly an athlete, and could very easily fit into what Sunderland are looking for both ideologically and tactically. That is a story worth keeping your eye on I'd suggest.

Staying in Italy, Palermo's Uruguayan striker Abel Hernandez was quite strongly linked with a move to Wearside this week.

On the surface, it once again appeared to tick a lot of boxes. Hernandez is a young player with bags of pace and surely a little lingering potential to develop too. The source of all the chatter is what perhaps gives this one away, though. All the talk is coming from the player's agent and the President of the selling club. It seems likely this is a case of once again Sunderland's name and activity in the transfer market being used to drive up the price or for posturing for a new contract.

It is almost certainly a similar situation with Livorno striker Paulinho. We have been somewhat locked in a holding pattern with Paulinho for a while now of his club telling Sampdoria that they'd better be quick and serious in their pursuit otherwise they'll sell him to Sunderland.

If Sunderland were indeed genuinely interested, they wouldn't need to try to coax offers out of anyone else.

There is also the further point that at 27, apparently pricey, and unproven beyond the second tier of Italian football, Paulinho just doesn't fit in with Sunderland's apparent criteria this summer. I think it is fairly safe to dismiss this one for now.

Whilst midfielders dominate the discussion this week, two very serious full back targets have also appeared.

Sky Italia claimed that negotiations to sign Lazio's right back Luis Pedro Cavanda were at an advanced stage. The Belgian's contractual situation is complicated, but he definitely appears to be a genuine target to replace the departing Phil Bardsley.

Cavanda himself fueled the speculation that he was close to joining up with Paolo Di Canio's squad by taking to Twitter and retweeting a significant number of Sunderland fans who were imploring him to sign.

Meanwhile, Le Havre left back Benjamin Mendy emerged as a Sunderland target, with the Black Cats hoping to pip Marseille and Lyon to the highly-rated 18-year-old.

One final point of note is the reported interest in Parma winger Jonathan Biabiany, though how serious a link that is, for now, remains to be seen.

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