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Any truth in the Caceres links? Keane ain't coming, & 3 other things we're talking about today

In today's talking points: Is there any truth in this continuing Martin Caceres link? What about Robbie Keane - he was linked to us last month, but is he coming to Sunderland? Jermain Defoe keeps on striking - is he now Sunderland's greatest goal-scorer of the last 20 years? Who's injured now? And a youngster made his league debut at the weekend.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Martin Caceres - Not-So-Secret Free Agent

Former Juventus defender Martin Caceres has been linked intermittently with Sunderland for the last few months - the 29-year-old has been without a club since last summer.

Juventus FC v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

For Sunderland who signed Steven Pienaar, Victor Anichebe and most recently, Joleon Lescott, after they were released by their clubs, the link is an easy one to make. But is there any actual substance to it? Well, probably not.

The reports linking Sunderland with Caceres originated in Italy, as most of these things tend to. It's this report to be exact, on the website of Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio. And here's the words he uses...

Southampton, who previously tried to sign Philippe Mexes but wasn't convinced by his physical form, appears to be interested and Sunderland could join the race.

Could. After landing Joleon Lescott on a free as cover at centre-back it seems unlikely David Moyes would consider another body in that position. Caceres is believed to have been at Southampton for a medical today anyway, so that rules that one out.

Robbie Keane - He Ain't Coming, Never Was

Robbie Keane has also been linked with a move to Sunderland for a few weeks now. The free agent left MLS side, LA Galaxy, in November and has been pondering his options ever since.

France v Republic of Ireland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016 Photo by Aurelien Meunier/UEFA via Getty Images

In no rush to commit, Keane is now thought to be training with Al Alhi in the United Arab Emirates. The former Republic of Ireland captain is on the verge of joining up with the side where ex-Sunderland striker, Asamoah Gyan, plies his trade - the Ghanaian is currently on loan from Chinese side Shanghai SIPG.

AFC Champions League - Melbourne Victory v Shanghai Sipg Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

David Moyes suggested in his press conference last week that he is now largely satisfied with his squad, and barring some exceptional opportunity presenting itself, it appears no fresh faces will be joining the Sunderland squad this season.

Jermain Defoe - Goal Scoring Machine

Sunderland striker, Jermain Defoe, took his tally to 14 league goals for the season on Saturday against Crystal Palace. The 34-year-old is well on course now to beat his best ever haul of 18, scored in the 2009-10 season when he was at Tottenham.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Defoe scored 15 Premier League goals last season in 33 appearances. At this rate, he's well on course to beat that figure and bookies have installed him as 7th favourite to win the 'English Golden Boot' behind Harry Kane, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero.

Defoe is only two goals behind current top scorer, Lukaku, who hit four against Bournemouth at the weekend.

The Injured Trio

Three Sunderland players picked up injuries in Saturday's demolition of Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace. John O'Shea and Jack Rodwell both had to be withdrawn with hamstring problems, whilst Adnan Januzaj suffered a hip injury.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

With Southampton the visitors on Saturday, David Moyes is sweating on the outcome of scans and assessments all three have been undergoing today.

Fresh from ending his dire jinx of not having featured on the winning side for three years and eight months, Jack Rodwell, has found a little form of late and a further absence in his stop-start season would be a blow for the 25-year-old midfielder.

Hamstring injuries have been a recurring problem at Sunderland with Rodwell and O'Shea joining a list that includes Jason Denayer, Steven Pienaar, Jan Kirchhoff and Victor Anichebe having been ruled out at some point or other with the same problem.

League Debuts for Youngsters

Sunderland youngster Andrew Nelson joined Hartlepool United on transfer deadline day in a loan deal until the end of the season, and made his league bow for Pools at the weekend.

Sunderland v Everton: Premier League 2
Andrew Nelson playing for Sunderland in a Premier League 2 match, January 2017
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Nelson at 19-years-old operates as a forward and he lined up in Hartlepool's front-line playing on the right flank. The Sunderland product supplied the ammunition for several of Pools' chances and the cross which led to the home side's only goal of the game against Yeovil.

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