Advocaat aims to land Downing and Wijnaldum in Sunderland summer spree
Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat is hoping to successfully lure two new stars to the Stadium of Light this summer, with both Stewart Downing and Georginio Wijnaldum on the Dutch coaches’ radar.
The Dutchman is confident his connections in his homeland can eventually see PSV midfielder Wijnaldum arrive on Wearside to bolster the central areas, while West ham United wideman Downing could be a genuine boost of attacking outlets within the set-up.
Former England international Downing enjoyed a rejuvenated campaign at Upton Park last term under Sam Allardyce but, with Slaven Bilic arriving at the helm, his Hammers future could be in doubt, with the new manager possibly set overhaul his inherited side for next term (9/2 with Coral to be relegated).
The 30-year-old enjoyed a rise to prominence during his days with Middlesbrough, his hometown club, and could return to the North East, with the Hammers winger potentially seen as a replacement for Adam Johnson, whose off-the-field issues have cast doubts over his future on Wearside.
Although, top of the priority list for Advocaat is his fellow countryman Wijnaldum, who was voted as player of the year last for last season’s title triumphing term in Eredivisie ahead of new Manchester United recruit Memphis Depay.
The Black Cats are prepared to break the club transfer record to land the £15m-rated playmaker, a player who featured under Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal at last summer’s World Cup in Brazil, scoring one of three goals in a 3-0 triumph over Brazil a third-place play-off clash.
Such a talented midfield maestro would represent a genuine transfer gem if Sunderland were to somehow persuade Wijnaldum to arrive at the Stadium of Light, but Advocaat will be confident of landing his man having worked with him as manager of PSV in 2011/12.
A stylish number 10 with plenty of international experience, having earned 19 caps for the Netherlands senior set-up, Wijnaldum would be an incredibly exciting new arrival, with the club reportedly promising Advocaat close to £50m in transfer funds to spend this summer.
Advocaat helped steer the previously stuttering top-flight side to Premier League survival last season and has claimed he will give the fans a new change of style to enjoy within the team next term, with Sunderland 50/1 to lift the Capital One Cup next campaign.