Sunderland appear to have made an approach to Hearts for striker Kyle Lafferty after learning the Scottish Premier League club are open to offers for their seven-goal striker.
Journalist Alan Nixon made the claim earlier today on social media, and after making some enquiries we can confirm that the Black Cats certainly do seem to have made an SOS call to Tynecastle Park after being rebuffed in their advances for Derby forward Chris Martin.
Hearts are said to be willing to listen to offers for their 30-year-old target man after receiving interest from England and overseas. The Northern Ireland international only returned to Scottish football in the summer and has 18 months left on his present deal.
Craig Levein dismissed speculation linking Lafferty with a move to Sunderland late last week, but at the time the Black Cats were still hanging on for an answer from Martin.
The 6ft 4in striker is due to return from suspension for tomorrow night’s Premiership match against Celtic and his absence from that one would give a firmer hint as to Hearts’ intentions.
It’s understood Sunderland contacted Hearts during the course of the last few days - a move which perhaps indicates Chris Coleman was already minded to give up on Martin.
The Black Cats boss cut a frustrated figure in his press conference this morning, bemoaning the club’s lack of progress in landing additional firepower:
We were told that someone wanted 48 hours, which turned into another 48 hours, and that was it – we just came away from that.
If players are not playing at their clubs, would they rather come here and play at a club like this and be a part of something, or do you stay where you are and keep on not playing?
I can’t get my head around that, personally.
With the transfer window closing in a little over 48 hours, Sunderland are running out of time to fix a problem which has existed throughout this month.
Top scorer Lewis Grabban returned to Bournemouth on 5th January and the other senior striker at the club, James Vaughan, was allowed to join Wigan a week later. The Black Cats travel to Birmingham for a relegation six-pointer tomorrow with teenager Josh Maja as the only front man at the club for the third game in a row.