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Manchester City star one of a trio of chief Sunderland targets

| 22.08.2012

Sunderland will have been pleased to begin the season with a draw at Arsenal over the weekend, but Martin O’Neill’s quest to strengthen his squad continues.

O’Neill has already added Louis Saha and Carlos Cuellar on free transfers this summer, but remains keen to splash the cash in his pursuit of a top-half Premier League finish.

As such, his attentions have turned to Manchester City and England winger Adam Johnson, whom he is set to test the Premier League champions’ resolve for with a £10m bid.

Johnson has long interested O’Neill, who faces stiff competition for the 25-year-old, though the Black Cats boss is reportedly ready to offer the winger better wages than other potential suitors.

With those other clubs thought to be perennial top-eight finishers though, including Liverpool and Tottenham, Johnson may have a difficult decision to make.

Meanwhile, O’Neill is also set to continue his long-standing pursuit of Steven Fletcher, who he is desperate to capture from Wolves.

Sunderland have already had at least three bids rejected by the Molineux club for Scottish striker Fletcher, despite the 25-year-old making clear his will to join the Black Cats.

Now, the Mackems are set to return with a take-it-or-leave-it offer worth over £14m, and hope that will be enough to persuade Wolves chairman Steve Morgan to do business.

Fletcher is not the only player O’Neill is ready to raid the Championship for though, as he aims to tempt recently-relegated Blackburn with a £1m bid for left-back Martin Olsson.

The Wearside outfit’s interest in Olsson is believed to have stemmed from Kieran Richardson’s decision to quit the club, leaving them short of cover at left-back.

Richardson’s departure is expected within the coming week, and that would free up the funds to offer a deal to Swedish international Olsson, who would welcome a Premier League return.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee