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West Brom target South American to replace outgoing Gardner

Adam Johnson may have made a statement of intent with his hat-trick in Sunderland’s 4-1 triumph at Fulham, but that has not stopped Gus Poyet stepping up the chase for another dribbling winger in January.

The player in question is Nacho Scocco, who has an international cap for Argentina on his resume and is not only known for his love of running at defenders, but also for possessing a vicious long-range shot.

Talks are thought to be at an advanced stage, with Scocco keen to join the Black Cats according to his father, although agreeing a transfer fee may not be a smooth process.

Brazilian side Internacional reportedly want over £5m for the 28-year-old.

However, meeting these demands may be a little easier if rumours are correct that West Brom are preparing to offer Craig Gardner a return to the Midlands.

Gardner has only made one Premier League start for Sunderland since the start of December and is out of contract at the Stadium of Light at the end of the campaign.

Poyet has wasted little time upgrading his squad in January, with Marcos Alonso already arriving on loan from Fiorentina.

Talks are also said to be nearing an end for another Argentinean to potentially join Scocco, with Poyet ending a long-running chase of Santiago Vergini, which is said to have started when the manager was in charge at Brighton.

It is Vergini’s size that heightens his appeal at centre back and he has accrued solid experience with Newell’s Old Boys and Estudiantes.

Sunderland have been in the bottom three since the third gameweek of the season and they are 13/10 in the Premier League betting to be relegated this season.

In their favour is that of the other eight clubs to sit in the bottom nine of the standings at present, Sunderland still have to host six of them at the Stadium of Light.