Bids to bring Manchester City striker Lukas Nmecha and Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn to Sunderland have hit snags, as both youngsters have issues to be resolved at their parent clubs before they are allowed to leave on loan.
But both could still be unveiled at the Stadium of Light before next weekend, whilst Jake Clarke-Slater is expected to be named a Sunderland player later today. The Chelsea prospect’s loan deal is near completion, pending the results of a medical check.
Liverpool will hang on to Wales international Woodburn until they can secure reinforcements in the wake of Philippe Coutinho’s departure for Barcelona; and Manchester City intend on securing Nmecha to a new long term contract before he is allowed the opportunity to impress elsewhere.
Here’s the latest as we understand it.
Nmecha in talks over a new Etihad deal
Nmecha’s present deal is due to expire next summer and with rival Premier League clubs, including Everton, sniffing around the 19-year-old, the Etihad outfit are keen to sort out his long term future.
The star of England’s U19 European Championship success has seen his stock rise since the Young Lions exploits last summer and City are fully aware that a successful stint in the Championship would add fuel to Nmecha’s burgeoning reputation.
The giants of the Premier League, with their giant youth set-ups, are meticulous nowadays at ensuring young stars have no chance of returning to haunt them at a later date should they be enticed out of the academy in which they have been brought up.
It is understood that Sunderland and Nmecha’s representatives have already discussed the possibility of a move to the Stadium of Light though there will be other suitors no doubt.
The key selling point in the Black Cats favour is the club’s desperate need for firepower in the wake of leading scorer Lewis Grabban’s exit last week.
The Manchester City youngster would immediately become a key figure in Chris Coleman’s armoury and that may sway the deal in Sunderland’s favour.
Pep Guardiola’s side will be aware that Jason Denayer was afforded plenty of opportunities on Wearside last season during his loan spell, though his failure to impress under David Moyes seems to have been a prelude to his current dismal stint with Galatasaray.
The Turkish giants and the player himself were desperate to reunite this term after Guardiola vetoed Denayer’s move to Istabnbul and sent him to Sunderland instead in the summer of 2016. After a dreadful start to the Super Lig season, the 22-year-old has picked up a little of late but most observers expect no permanent deal to be reached with the Eredivisie mooted as the defender’s best best next season.
Woodburn must wait...but Clarke-Salter is in town
Meanwhile, Ben Woodburn has little chance of becoming Jurgen Klopp’s short-to-medium term replacement for Phillipe Coutinho and is still almost certain to spend the rest of the season on loan - most likely at Sunderland.
But Liverpool are said to be weighing up their options, with Monaco’s Thomas Lemar suggested as their preferred choice to fill Coutinho’s £142m void. Klopp has proved patient in pursuit of his top targets in the past and any big bucks deal will take time but Woodburn could still be unveiled on Wearside as soon as the end of the week.
Time is one thing Sunderland don’t have, of course.
Saturday’s dismal exit from the FA Cup may have been a blessing in reality but a trip to third-placed Cardiff at the weekend already looks a likely point-less one ahead of a massive home game against Hull City seven days later. A boost in the form of new recruits is desperately needed.
Jake Clarke-Slater should be unveiled by the Black Cats later today which should give the place a bit of a lift. The centre back was due on Wearside yesterday but with Chris Coleman in Watford for an FA Youth Cup tie, a medical and the subsequent unveiling of the Chelsea prospect has had to wait for today.