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Ndong rumours intensify & Sunderland still interested in Villans

Could Spurs hold the key to Didier’s future with the club? And are Villa willing to negotiate over two players in an effort at freeing up wages for a target of their own?

Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

We noted yesterday that Dider Ndong has been attracting interest from the other side of the channel, with Lyon alleged to be considering making an offer for the industrious midfielder. However, today things appear to have escalated as a domino effect of transfers could see the Gabonese midfielder bumped up Lyon’s list of potential midfield targets.

The issue is that Lyon view Ndong as a back-up option in the event they are unsuccessful in landing young Celta Vigo midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop. Diop is alleged to have a £25 million release clause in his contract, but Lyon have entered negotiations with an opening offer of around £15 million.

The French side’s bid was substantially more than the £9 million allegedly offered by Spurs; however Diop is keen on a move to London. Therefore, you can expect Tottenham - who haven’t spent anything yet so far this summer - to return with an improved offer.

In turn, Sunderland will sit and wait with baited breath as a two-way battle between Lyon and Spurs for Diop could potentially either intensify or abate interest in one of Sunderland’s key players. It’s all a bit mental, so watch this space.

Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus - Pre-Season Friendly
Could this man’s transfer ambitions impact Sunderland’s squad?
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

In other transfer roundabout news, Sunderland could make headway on a double swoop as league rivals look to tempt a Premier League playmaker away from the nation’s capital.

With the news that Robert Snodgrass has been made available for sale/loan, it feels like a matter of time before he’s unveiled alongside Steve Bruce in the Claret colours of Aston Villa. News today suggested that Villa are keen on a 50/50 loan agreement that would see Bruce’s side shoulder half of Snodgrass’ alleged £60k+ per week contract - something Sunderland would struggle to afford.

In turn, big spending Villa are keen to reduce their own wage bill in order to secure the former Hull player’s services after a tricky start to their second season in the Championship. That will be music to Sunderland’s ears as both Ross McCormack and Tommy Elphick are targets for Grayson and co.

Fulham v AFC Bournemouth - Sky Bet Championship
Both targets for Grayson.
Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Elphick, despite being named captain ahead of last season, finds himself down the Villa pecking order after the signings of John Terry and Chris Samba this summer. With James Chester and Micah Richards also at the club, it’s believed the former Bournemouth captain is eager to leave Villa in search of first team football. Sunderland are in desperate need of extra centre backs regardless of speculation around Lamine Kone’s ongoing transfer saga, and Elphick would be a solid addition.

McCormack of course has been touted as being a target since early in the window, and with these words from Steve Bruce in the last few days, you’d expect to see the Scottish forward leaving the club in some way, shape or form at a reduced price:

I’ve opened the door in pre-season for Ross but he hasn’t done enough to warrant a place in the side. There’s others above him in the side right now.

Sources close to the club suggest Martin Bain will now use Villa’s eagerness to sign Snodgrass as leverage for a deal for the two players mentioned above. Reports in recent weeks suggest Sunderland were struggling to meet Villa’s demands for McCormack who cost £12 million just a year ago, and is said to earn over £40k per week. Villa’s eagerness to sign Snodgrass, however, will of course help Sunderland lower those figures though the wages are said to still be a worry for Bain and Grayson who have work to do in order to get these deals over the finish line.

Transfers, eh? Absolute bedlam!