Sunderland have been repeatedly linked with Sheffield United's Italian u-20 striker Diego De Girolamo this season and their efforts to sign the forward has been boosted with the 19-year-old set to leave the Blades in the summer, according to their manager Nigel Clough.
Speaking ahead of his side's game against Notts County, Clough told reporters that De Girolamo had turned down their contract offer as he has "better opportunities" elsewhere;
We made Diego what was a very good contract offer and he turned it down, so the matter will go upstairs now.
His time here will come to an end when his contract ends. He's rejected his contract offer and the chance to stay here.
We felt we had offered him a good deal but I think he feels he will get better opportunities elsewhere.
He's not been involved recently because we believe, at this moment in time, Matty Done is a better player and also, at this moment in time, Marc McNulty is a better player. Nothing more.
According to the Sheffield Star the 19-year-old is believed to view Sunderland as a possible destination in the summer but with the player out of contract, any move will be subject to either a tribunal or Sunderland and Sheffield United agreeing compensation due to the player being under 24.
Sunderland may also face competition from Serie A sides Juventus, Roma and Napoli for the Chesterfield born forward.
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