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Come In Number Nine!

Last week Steve Bruce and Niall Quinn spoke of their desire to use the money from the Darren Bent transfer on an "old fashioned number nine."

With Sir Alex Ferguson claiming that Danny Welbeck's future lies at Old Trafford, the hunt for a new striker becomes even more imperative as we head into the summer with Fraizer Campbell and Asamoah Gyan leading the line, whilst we don't know how involved youngsters like Ryan Noble and Oumare Tounkara will be.

The pair didn't name any names, but they did give a list of criteria which will make up what the club are looking for in their new striker. Quinn cited height, youth, maturity and the ability to bring others into play as the main attributes.

With all this in mind, I decided to put some names out there, and work out whether or not there is any chance of them coming to Sunderland...

First up, a player I'd very much welcome at Sunderland - 17 year-old Ipswich Town striker Connor Wickham. It's easy to forget that Wickham is still so young, as it feels like he's been around forever. The England youth international however is an incredibly talented player. Strong, powerful and a great eye for goal, Wickham reminds me of, dare I say it, a young Alan Shearer.

Perhaps not the most physical or tall of strikers, but this young lad is only going to get better, and I think SAFC should certainly be looking to pull the trigger here, and a bid of around £7m could secure his services.

Here's Wickham in action:

Second of all is someone I'm not so keen on, but the press have been linking him with a move to SAFc ever since Bruce uttered he wanted a number nine - Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner.

Sometimes I've watched Bendtner and thought he'd be a really good player at a club like ours, however then you read about him and this whole little fantasy world he has created where he's the best player in the world is somewhat worrying. It's definitely not the attitude we're looking for in a player.

Whilst he should be available for around £5m, and he's still young and physical when he can be bothered, not to mention having worked with Brucey at Birmingham City, I hope we don't go near him with a barge pole.

Here's the best and worst of Bendtner, in case you're still undecided:

Next on the list, a man who has captured my imagination since about 2:30pm on Sunday when I say him for the first time, young Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao.

Watching Brazil's 2-0 win over Scotland, I couldn't help but be impressed as the 21 year old partnered Neymar in attack, and did lots of good work. A big threat from corners, handy with his feet and a bit more digging around suggests this performance was not just a one off.

Leandro has bagged his fair share of goals in the Brazilian leagues, and is not your prototypical forward. Recently linked with a move to Shaktar Donetsk, who we couldn't compete with at all - money wise or competition wise, but if the lad is levelheaded enough, he may just fancy a crack at the Premiership over the Ukraine.

Still young, and a physical threat, there would be no harm in us throwing our hats into the ring for such a player.

Here's some further highlights of the lad:

The last name I'm going to throw properly into the ring is Lille striker Moussa Sow. The tall Senegal front man is the current top scorer in Ligue 1. A fair chunk of money would be needed to get Lille to part with their main man, easily £7m or so, but every player has their price, and having lured another of the French league's top talents - Stephane Sessegnon - then why not add Sow to the mix?

He looks a very accomplished player. Physically awkward for defenders to deal with, quick, young and an equally good finisher with either foot.

Don't just take my word for it though, check this out:

Other options recently linked in the press include Tottenham Hotspur strikers Peter Crouch & Roman Pavlychenko. I'm certainly not keen on Crouch coming up to Wearside. He had the chance, screw him. Anyone at the recent talk-ins too will know that Ellis Short isn't keen on him either.

As for Pavlychenko, I don't think we'll be making a move. He brings people into the game well, is mobile and has a good shot on him, however for his size, he isn't overly physical, and while he has been hankering after a move, it's much more likely he'll return to Russia.

Oh and luckily for us, when Quinny & Brucey talked about the incoming number nine, they mentioned that they wanted players on the up, which backs up what we were told at the talk-ins, which was we're after players who will appreciate in value, not depreciate. Hence I can say with some certainty, regardless of what you may read in the press form time to time, there will be NO move for Emile Heskey. We can all sleep comfortably.

Who do you like from those listed? Or do you have a name we've missed? Vote in our poll, or to suggest a new name, leave a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

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