Roma Look Set To Pip Sunderland To Youngster

Has one of Europe's highest regarded prospects slipped agonisingly through Sunderland's grasp?

Italian giants Roma appear to have pipped Sunderland to the signing of highly rated Swedish teenager Valmir Berisha.

According to reports in Italy, the Halmstads striker 'has chosen Roma' with the only decision remaining whether he joins up in the summer when his contract expires or this month for a slightly increased fee.

It is a bit of a blow given the player's lofty reputation, and Sunderland had already beaten off competition from the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid to feature in the final reckoning.

It was certainly a bold move by Sunderland to pursue one of Europe's highest regarded prospects with such vigour, and we probably punched a little over our weight to get so close. If he does indeed choose Roma as the story suggests, then the club still probably deserve a bit of credit.

It also gives a little insight into the long term strategies at the Stadium of Light now. Since Roberto De Fanti and Valentino Angeloni came on board in the summer, the focus has been on what they have been able to deliver for the first team squad.

However, the remit of the recruitment team is very much a wide one, with sourcing top prospects for the academy a very prominent part of that. This time, it looks like it hasn't quite paid off, but at least we know they are doing something right to be in there competing with the best for the most in-demand youngsters.

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