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Poyet hoping to lure compatriot Cristian Rodriguez to Black Cats

Sunderland (9/2 to get relegated) and boss Gus Poyet are hoping to sign Atletico Madrid winger Cristian Rodriguez, after the Uruguay international signalled his intent to leave the Spanish league champions.

The 28-year-old, who started every game for his country at the World Cup, featured just 20 times in La Liga last term for Atleti, mostly off the bench. A move to the Stadium of Light would guarantee Rodriguez, nicknamed Cebolla (Onion), more first-team football.

Poyet, who also represented Uruguay in his playing days, said: “I had a chat with people in Uruguay, who are obviously desperate for Rodríguez to come with us. At the moment it’s a possibility, but it’s no more than that.

“He’s a player that I admire a lot because he’s got power, desire and experience playing with the top teams. He wants to play football, he’s desperate to be playing week-in, week-out.”

If Sunderland were to pull off this deal, Rodriguez would bring the Black Cats a wealth of experience. He has gained 77 caps for his nation, winning the Copa America with them in 2011, and played for European giants such as PSG, Porto and on loan at Benfica.

Rodriguez has also managed to win silverware at every permanent club he has been at, including getting his hands on multiple trophies at Porto and Atletico.

Sunderland have sold or released a number of players already this summer, but have so far snapped up Jordi Gomez from Wigan, Billy Jones (West Brom), Costel Pantilimon (Man City) and, more recently, Patrick van Aanholt (Chelsea).

The club have already missed out on Swansea City captain and centre back Ashley Williams, while their move to sign Liverpool attacker Fabio Borini, who was on loan on Wearside last term, has stalled, despite having a bid accepted.

Sunderland only narrowly managed to stay up in the Premier League the previous season, after their great escape and giant-killing exploits in the final few weeks, and Coral give them an odds-on price of 1/8 to be safe again this campaign.