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Sunderland bruiser to swap English grit for Italian glamour

| 03.02.2014

There was a shock name among football’s most in demand players on transfer deadline day, with the volatile attributes of Lee Cattermole sought by both English and European suitors as the famous transfer clock ticked down.

Stoke were said to be keen on the former Sunderland captain, but failed to get their man as a £5m bid fell flat hours before the end of Friday’s deadline.

However, the Potters weren’t the only side to register a final-day interest in the midfielder, with Sunderland’s telephone operator likely to have been rightly suspicious when Napoli rang through to express a keenness in doing a deal.

The Serie A club, managed by former Chelsea and Liverpool man Rafa Benitez, failed with their attempts but are rumoured to be readying another enquiry in the summer.

Benitez reportedly tried to sign Cattermole while he was at the Anfield helm and obviously feels the Stockton-on-Tees native can add vital steel to Gli Azzurri’s midfield, as they bid to solidify a spot in next season’s Champions League.

For Sunderland, who are 2/11 to stay up, letting the man who has made 92 appearances go could be a more viable option in the summer.

Liam Bridcutt arrived from Brighton on deadline day and performed with calm assuredness on debut in the Tyne-Wear derby.

Should Bridcutt nail down the holding midfield role at the Stadium of Light, Cattermole’s influence at the club will likely diminish and he’ll want to find regular football elsewhere.

If Gus Poyet’s bid to secure Premier League safety fails, something which is currently out to 10/3 with Ladbrokes after the 3-0 Newcastle victory, then getting Cattermole’s wages off the books will be a priority anyway, leaving Benitez in prime position to finally land the most unusual of transfers.

The Black Cats are undefeated in four games and face Hull at home next, a match they are 21/20 to win.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.