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World Cup Watch: Sunderland can replace Altidore with Super Eagle

| 04.06.2014

Sunderland’s relegation great escape will forever be etched into the club’s folklore, but Gus Poyet mustn’t stand still in the transfer market this summer if the Black Cats are to avoid getting embroiled in a similar scenario next season.

Wholesale squad changes, which ultimately led to the premature end of Paolo Di Canio’s Wearside residency, should certainly be avoided at all costs.

But with the World Cup acting as a goldfish bowl for possible transfer-worthy talent, a few choice catches are certainly in order.

Emmanuel Emenike – Nigeria – Striker

Connor Wickham’s recall from loan may have saved their skin at the 11th hour, but a serious lack of goals all season for Sunderland needs to be remedied for the beginning of 2014/15 campaign.

Jozi Altidore will surely be surplus to requirements after a dismal season, while Fabio Borini’s probable return to Liverpool makes signing another striker paramount.

Step forward Nigeria and Fenerbahce centre-forward Emenike, who has previously excelled on-loan at Spartak Moscow, scoring 21 times in 42 appearances, before rejoining the Turkish club this season, where he notched 12 in 28 Super Lig games.

Meanwhile, the 27-year-old’s record for the Super Eagles stands at 10 from just 21 caps and he’s the 7/2 favourite to top score for Nigeria in Brazil.

Eder Alvarez Balanta – Colombia – Centre-Back

Manchester United old boys Wes Brown and John O’Shea have long been the central-defensive glue at the heart of defence, but at 34 and 33 respectively are losing some of their adhesiveness.

Fresh blood is required and that’s where highly-rated Colombia centre-back Balanta, who currently plies his trade at River Plate.

At just 21, Balanta has already drawn high praise in South America and even created a few waves in Europe, so Sunderland should pounce now.

Tranquillo Barnetta – Switzerland – Winger

If rumours that Hull are intent on prising Adam Johnson away are true then signing another wide man with left-sided capabilities becomes even more imperative.

At 29, Barnetta is no spring chicken but has previously excelled at Bayer Leverkusen before moving around the German top-flight.

He still has pace to burn and it looks like a change of scene could reinvigorate a career that had looked set for stardom in its early stages.

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

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.