Robbie Keane - The Man Sunderland Have Been Linked With For The Last 15 Years!
Reports abound today that Sunderland will turn to veteran striker Robbie Keane as the man who could give Wearside a relegation-busting bounce. The 36-year-old is a free agent having departed MLS side LA Galaxy in November and has declared he expects to return to English football.
The link appears to have originated in The Express late last night and in truth is an easy one to make. With no money to spend at the Stadium of Light and the entire burden of firing Sunderland to safety resting on Jermain Defoe once again, David Moyes needs goal-scoring reinforcements.
Moyes has two other senior strikers at the club but Victor Anichebe is still not fully fit and the future of Fabio Borini appears to remain in doubt.
The Italian was dropped for the trip to West Bromwich Albion yesterday after a string of lack-lustre showings and reports last week claimed the Sunderland boss will listen to offers for the former Liverpool man.
And despite not being fully match fit, Anichebe returned to the side at the Hawthorns yesterday following a hamstring injury. If the Nigerian now has another nine days until Sunderland's next fixture to prime himself, the fact remains that Big Vic has been troubled by lay-offs like his most recent one for the bulk of his career, so more are certain to follow.
You have to stretch your memory back almost fifteen years to recall the first time Robbie Keane was linked with a move to Sunderland. Back in July 2002 Peter Reid was given permission to speak with the Irishman about signing for his side, only for the then 21-year-old to declare his desire to stay at Leeds.
At that time Reid was searching for a successor to the hitman crown at the Stadium of Light which was held by an ageing Niall Quinn and Kevin Philips who was increasingly being linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light.
Seemingly ever since then Keane has been linked with Sunderland. But, is this merely the latest in the annual tradition of claiming the Republic of Ireland international is on his way to the North East, or is there substance to it?
Some outlets are claiming Keane will hold talks with Sunderland this week.
Jesé Rodríguez - Paris Saint-Germain
According to this morning's edition of Le Parisien, Sunderland are one of a number of clubs interested in Paris Saint-Germain striker Jesé Rodríguez.
The 23-year-old Spaniard has been strongly linked with a move away from Paris in this transfer window with Middlesbrough and Roma also said to be keen on his signature. PSG coach, Unai Emery, has told the striker he can leave the Parc des Princes if a club comes in for him this month.
Las Palmas were thought to be on the verge of signing Rodríguez until recently, but it appears the Spanish club can't afford him - a situation not dissimilar to the one at Sunderland, though the links suggest a loan move would be the likely route by which David Moyes could land him.
Rodríguez only moved to PSG from Real Madrid in the summer in a five-year deal worth 25-million-euros; but his appearances have been limited by a bout of appendicitis and a struggle to settle in Paris. He spent five years at the Bernabeu but grew disillusioned first under Rafa Benitez and then his successor Zinedine Zidane.
According to various reports in France this morning however the striker is sticking it out in the hope Las Palmas can find a way to land him. There is even a suggestion he will accept a huge drop in salary to make his way back to Spain or sit it out until the summer to make good his escape plan.
Could he be persuaded to spend a little time at the Stadium of Light, and give struggling Sunderland a huge shot in the arm, whilst he awaits his chosen Spanish club saving up its pennies to be able to afford him?
The striker generally just goes by the moniker 'Jesé', though sadly at 5ft 10in, he isn't all that big.