According to Alan Nixon of the Sun, Sunderland remain keen on Chelsea midfielder Ethan Ampadu and are intent on securing the youngster on a loan until the end of the season.
The 17-year old is highly thought of at Stamford Bridge and has become a regular in Antonio Conte’s matchday squads, even starting their cup game in midweek against Norwich as part of a back three.
Speculation at the start of the transfer window linked the Wales international with a move to Wearside, and despite the fact that we’ve been desperate for reinforcements in midfield it hasn’t appeared that any deal has been forthcoming.
Sunderland manager Chris Coleman is an admirer of Ampadu and gave him his debut for Wales in November during their 2-0 friendly defeat away to France.
The new gaffer spoke earlier this week about the fact that deals had been lined up but parent clubs weren’t able to sanction them until they had replacements in themselves - and, considering the fact that Ampadu is now a regular in Chelsea’s 18-man squad, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that he is one of the players that we’re having trouble with pushing over the line.
Chelsea are set for a court date with Ampadu’s former club Exeter City in March - the League Two side remain certain that the reason he signed for the Pensioners was because a pre-arranged agreement had been reached, thus enabling Exeter to receive some hefty compensation for losing their top youth product to one of the richest clubs in world football.
Nixon also claims that Sunderland remain close to securing the signing of Scotland international Chris Martin, though there’s one major hurdle to clear before the deal can be done.
He alleges that Derby want Sunderland to take on Martin’s wages for the remainder of his £30,000-per-week contract, which has eighteen months left to run, rather than just on a short-term deal until the end of the season.
This slightly contradicts what other outlets have reported, that a deal has been reached but Sunderland are waiting on a decision from the player - though its reasonable to assume that there will have been some degree of bargaining between the two clubs in order to try and find a solution that benefits both parties.
Reading manager Jaap Stam was again asked about his club’s chances of signing Martin from Derby after their defeat yesterday at home to Brentford and admitted that he remains interested.
But, according to Nixon, Sunderland are the closer of the two clubs to reaching an agreement with the player, who can rest assured that he’d be coming to Wearside in order to play regular football - such is our need for strength up front following the departure of James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban earlier this month.