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Sunderland and QPR to battle for Greece World Cup star

| 30.06.2014

Premier League duo Sunderland and QPR will commence battle over the signing of a World Cup star now that Greece have been dumped out of the tournament.

The Black Cats and the Hoops are said to be keen on signing the Ethniki’s Bologna star Panagiotis Kone ahead of the new campaign.

Both clubs will face stiff competition from Serie A, with Torino, Palermo and Lazio also rumoured to be preparing bids following the winger’s star showing for Greece in Brazil.

With Bologna likely to accept a bid of around £3m, neither club is likely to be put off an advance, so it will come down to the player to decide where his future lies.

This plays more into the hands of Sunderland manager Gus Poyet than his QPR counterpart Harry Redknapp, with the R’s squad currently overrun with midfield operators.

QPR have no fewer than 14 midfielders in the first team squad and while some are likely to depart before a Premier League ball is kicked next season at 26-years-old Kone is unlikely to relish the opportunity of fighting for a place in the starting XI week-in, week-out.

By contrast, Poyet has just eight recognised midfielders on his books and while the likes of Lee Cattermole, Liam Bridcutt, Jordi Gomez and Adam Johnson will be expecting their share of game time, Kone could expect to get more minutes in the red and white stripes of Sunderland than the blue and white hoops of QPR.

Kone, who started his career in Greece with AEK Athens, is something of a late bloomer, but after hitting 11 goals in 59 games for Bologna last term is hot property in the Italian top flight.

His World Cup was cut short by injury but he did enough to boost his profile in Greece’s surprise run to the knock-out stages and at £3m is a punt worth taking for Poyet.

The Black Cats, who are priced at 9/2 for the drop this year, managed to score just 41 goals when flirting with relegation and would surely boost that tally if Kone picked up where he left of last term.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.