Black Cats linked with Mendy
Published 27/06/2013 | 11:36
Paolo Di Canio's attempts to re-shape his squad appear to be gathering pace as he closes in on one man with another preparing to leave.
Reports in France have suggested the Black Cats have forced their way ahead of Arsenal in the pursuit of 18-year-old Le Havre left-back Benjamin Mendy by agreeing a fee for the player.
Sources on Wearside played down the claims that their interest in the France Under-19 international defender is as advanced as that, but confirmed he is very much in the club's sights as they attempt to boost the playing staff at both senior and development levels. Meanwhile, Egypt international winger Ahmed Elmohamady's proposed move to Hull is close to being completed.
Sunderland have been without a specialist left-back for some time, with loan signing Danny Rose having plugged a gap - which has also been filled at times by midfielders Kieran Richardson and Jack Colback and right-back Phil Bardsley in the recent past - last season.
It would come as no surprise even if Di Canio did manage to land the Longjumeau-born player if he also opted to bring in a more senior man for the same position in a bid to give the cover the club has lacked for some time.
Midfielder Elmohamady spent all but a few weeks of last season on loan at the KC Stadium as Steve Bruce, the man who had initially brought him to England during his time in charge at the Stadium of Light, handed him another chance to prove himself.
The Egyptian made a total of 41 appearances and scored three goals as the Tigers secured their return to the Barclays Premier League, and Bruce is keen to tie up a permanent deal. The former ENPPI player cost the Black Cats £2million in June 2011 after a successful loan spell, and they would hope to recoup a similar amount on his departure.
That would further boost a transfer kitty which received a £9million windfall earlier this week, the first and main instalment of the fee for keeper Simon Mignolet's switch to Liverpool.
Di Canio has promised to re-invest that cash to ensure Sunderland do not face the another fight for Barclays Premier League survival next season after finishing in 17th place at the end of the last campaign.
Maritimo defender Valentin Roberge, Basle midfielder Cabral and Lazio's Modibo Diakite will all join the club on July 1, while youngsters Duncan Watmore and David Moberg Karlsson are already on board.