Coral’s rumour reel: Sunderland chasing Stewart Downing?
It’s Sunderland (2/1 with Coral to be relegated) at the centre of some tasty transfer speculation in this morning’s media, with Mackems coach Dick Advocaat set to wield some serious clout this summer by rivalling North East neighbours Newcastle United for PSV playmaker Georginio Wijnaldum.
It is believed Advocaat’s Dutch connections could see him snatch his compatriot from underneath the Magpies’ noses, though the 24-year-old, who notched 14 goals and four assists in 33 Eredivisie outings last term, could break the Black Cats’ transfer record, with a fee of around £15m mooted.
Sunderland are also apparently aiming to add further guile in the attacking midfield department by snaring West Ham United schemer Stewart Downing. The England international, 30, could be a casualty of the Hammers’ expected overhaul, though the winger’s boyhood club Middlesbrough may also challenge for his signature.
Newcastle are also in the news, with poacher Papiss Cisse, rated at around £10m, set to be offloaded by Steve McClaren. Charlie Austin has been long-linked with taking over the striking mantle for the Tyneside team, and is rumoured to be lined-up to claim the number 9 shirt, though the Magpies may also add Marseille flank threat Florian Thauvin to their ranks.
In Manchester, Lazio midfield veteran Lucas Biglia, 29, has emerged as a potential target for Louis van Gaal, with Man Utd tipped to splash out £18.6m for the Eagles’ Argentinian star. The Old Trafford club are expected to spend big this summer, with press reporting the Red Devils will splash out around £150m on talents such as Sergio Ramos and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
In an intriguing aside, should Biglia deaprt the Stadio Olimpico, deep-lying Bayern Munich midfield maestro Xabi Alonso could follow in Miroslav Klose’s footsteps and leave the Allianz Arena for a stint at Lazio.
Heading for the Old Trafford exit to raise some funds, meanwhile, may be Mexico marksman Javier Hernandez, who is now linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, having only just finished a loan spell with bitter cross-capital rivals Real Madrid.
Across the Northwest divide, speculation surrounds Liverpool (5/2 for a top four finish), who may just have pipped Man Utd to the post for Brazil and Hoffenheim hitman Roberto Firmino, with a £17.8m deal rumoured to be close to fruition for the Samba Boys’ forward to link up with compatriot Philippe Coutinho.
Rounding off today’s reel though, with a surprising rumour, is Stoke City, who have reportedly approached Europa League champions Sevilla regarding an ambitious swap deal for Poland midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, with Steven Nzonzi heading to the Bathtubs in return.