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Martin O'Neill planning a double striker swoop

SUNDERLAND manager Martin O’Neill has revealed he will sign two strikers this summer in a bid to cure his side’s goal-scoring woes.

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill

SUNDERLAND manager Martin O’Neill has revealed he will sign two strikers this summer in a bid to cure his side’s goal-scoring woes.

The Black Cats have managed to hit the net only 44 times from their 36 Premier League games so far, which is three less than even relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers.

The Journal understands Asamoah Gyan’s permanent move to Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates should go through over the next few days, with the club set to receive a fee of £6m for the Ghanaian.

Add that to the £6m paid to them for his one-year loan deal and it will more or less cover the £13m record signing’s massive fee when you take into consideration they have not paid his wages for a season. The money will be added to O’Neill’s transfer kitty and his first priority, he will tell owner Ellis Short, is a frontline partnership which between them can guarantee 30-40 goals a season.

No Sunderland player’s future will be decided over the final two league games as the manager has already decided who is staying and going.

However, there will be two new faces brought in to become what the fans will hope will be the next Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips.

O’Neill (pictured left) said: “We need at least two players getting well into double figures next season.

“I have a fairly decent idea who I will buy. Have I made serious inroads? No, I have not.

“Myself and Mr Short will have a conversation in the not-too-distant future.

“There is no doubt we are getting down to some serious work.”

O’Neill made it clear that, while he wants to win the last two games, against Fulham in London on Sunday and then what is a potential title-deciding clash at home to Manchester United next weekend, no player now can play their way into his plans if his mind is made up that they do not have a future at the Stadium of Light.

Even a hat-trick against Sir Alex Ferguson’s team would not be enough in the eyes of the Irishman at this late stage.

O’Neill added: “The last two games will not make a massive difference.

“ I think I have a good idea of the abilities of the players who have played regularly for me.

“It would be great to get two good results. There are things to play for and a top-ten finish would be terrific.

“I would like to see some of the younger players but, if not, their contracts are not up so pre-season then becomes important for them.

“We have a hectic schedule playing the Peace Cup in Korea, so the young players will get a chance then.”

O’Neill admitted he cannot wait to be able to say the Sunderland team is his ownrather than what he has right now, which is, by and large, Steve Bruce’s squad.

He said: “The exciting part of it is getting time in the summer, looking forward to pre-season trying to get strength into the team.

“I am genuinely looking forward to it.” No player who will exit the club has been given that news yet, something O’Neill will do once the last ball has been kicked.

He added: “That would not be the best news to tell someone then have to use him for the next few games.

“There is plenty of time to tell players when the season is over.

“I need to talk to the players first. I will not have these discussions with anyone until before the season ends.”

Titus Bramble has returned to full training, but time has run out for the former Newcastle United central defender to play again this season.

 

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