According to reports in Romania, Sunderland had scouts present at Leigh Sports Village to watch Dorin Rotariu in action as his side Dinamo Bucharest lost 2-1 to Hearts in a pre-season friendly. The 18-year-old winger came on at half-time as the Romanian side changed their entire line-up but to no avail as all three goals in the match came in the first twenty minutes.
Sunderland were first linked with the winger back in March, when they, along with Liverpool and Hertha Berlin, had a watching brief as he took on local rivals Steaua Bucharest. Manchester United have also taken an interest in Rotariu, with officials from the Old Trafford side visiting Romania late last year to speak to the player as they looked to get to know him before mulling over a potential bid.
United had him watched as recently as last Wednesday, as Mick Doherty was present to see the winger take on Connah's Quay in another pre-season friendly. However Sunderland may have jumped to the front of the queue, with Rotariu saying of a possible move to Sunderland;
You think about all the possibilities, you think whether it's good or bad, if it helps or not.
Although Dinamo have expressed a wish that he remain with them for another season, severe financial problems at the Romanian club may force them to sell the highly rated prospect. The player himself is also willing to move, due to becoming heckled and the target of death threats but some Dinamo fans due to his agent being the wife of a former Steuau Bucharest manager. The player also had a flare thrown at him by Dinamo fans during their defeat to Hearts, further straining the relationship between fans and player.
Should Sunderland make a concrete move for Rotariu, and subsequently sign him, he will link up with fellow Romanian Costel Pantilimon at the Stadium of Light, which should help the 18-year-old settle. The winger is currently studying English for his Baccalaureate in the hopes of improving his chances of a move to England.
Obviously no rumour of this type is complete without the obligatory YouTube compilation:
Stay tuned to Roker Report throughout the summer as we keep you up to date with all the transfer news and rumours. Also, feel free to keep in touch with our dedicated Transfer Centre, which you can do by CLICKING HERE.