Let's See The Colour Of It Slaven - Club Reject Defoe Offers, But Supporters Uneasy
Depending who you believe, West Ham have either made an initial bid for Jermain Defoe, or so far had two turned down.
Again, dependent on your favoured news source - Sky Sports, the local press or one of the nationals - West Ham have offered £5m, £6m or £7m. Either way, the value of the 34-year-old hitman appears to be ticking up by the hour and allegedly the Hammers have challenged Sunderland to 'name your price'.
At this stage it appears that at least one bid has been received and rejected, though the story likely has a way to run yet as the early days of the transfer window are devoid of much else of interest to those in the media.
As for Sunderland's stance - presently most observers believe the club wouldn't sell Jermain Defoe even if West Ham doubled their present bid.
And David Moyes already has some precedent for rejecting silly money for one of his players in his short tenure at the Stadium of Light. By all accounts, Lamine Kone was all but unveiled in the blue shirt of Everton before Sunderland supposedly rejected £15m-upwards for the centre-half in the summer.
And when you're deep in the relegation-clarts and up to your eyes in debt, even £7m for the man who has scored over half of the goals you've managed all season, doesn't look particularly tempting surely.
Or does it? Because this is Sunderland, and we've been here before. The club has some precedent further back for selling goalscorers and as a result leaving itself in a horrible mess. Remember, Darren Bent was flogged for £18m or more in 2011 - a deal which was followed by five years of relegation-battling struggle which was in no way a coincidence.
As of this evening it appears that Sunderland have rebuffed West Ham who have requested the Black Cats indicate a price at which they would be prepared to sell. As we all know, every player at every club in the world - barring about two - has their price.
And the last time Chief Executive, Martin Bain, was asked to state a figure for a player - he let our chief centre-half move to Watford for £3m. Would he fold again? Certainly supporters are starting to panic - with some already agitating on social media. The trust between fans and club remains brittle despite recent efforts. Pressure will continue to build as this week progresses and presumably a statement of some sort may be required before long.
However, spare a thought for this former Newcastle Journal reporter - desperate as ever to switch the national media's attention onto something else:
@Matt_Diner precisely but why are West Ham trying to sign 34-year-old strikers? Desperate stuff from them and if they fail, embarrassing— Luke Edwards (@LukeEdwardsTele) January 4, 2017
These Sebastian Larsson To Fiorentina Rumours.....
It was Roker Report who first published this story - which originated from a nothing interview Sebastian Larsson did in his native Sweden - that Serie A club Fiorentina may have been pursuing the Sunderland midfielder.
In truth, the tale isn't anything new. The whole shebang originates in a podcast interview the 32-year-old did weeks ago in his homeland - at the time he was just about to return from his lengthy layoff from knee surgery. In it Larsson was asked about his plans for the future and whether he had considered other offers during his time in England.
His response - that in the past he has turned down moves to clubs around the world - including Dubai and China plus Germany and Italy - specifically Fiorentina.
Indeed, from what he said it's likely the offer from the Florence-based outfit was in fact last summer or the one before - most probably at the time his last deal at Sunderland was about to expire.
Three days after it originally emerged again, the Italians have been all over it and twisted it into something apparently current and even suggested Sunderland have, at some non-determined point in the past, turned down a bid of £2.5m for Larsson.
In the final few months of his current deal here at Sunderland, he likely isn't even worth that now. But these links certainly stem from Seb's historical reminiscing and nothing more.