TOTTENHAM ran the rule over Danny Rose last weekend as they consider their left-back options for next season.
Sunderland are desperate to land the England U21 defender in the summer but the news Spurs sent one of their scouts to watch Rose’s man of the match display against Everton merely underlines how difficult it will be to negotiate a deal.
Tottenham are ready to ditch Benoit Assou-Ekotto in the close season and have previously said Rose will be returning to White Hart Lane, although privately Sunderland believe they will be able to broker a deal.
However, Tottenham’s their presence at the last two Sunderland matches would suggest they haven’t ruled out the prospect of him returning completely.
Martin O’Neill had made Rose his top summer target, and even though Paolo Di Canio has barely had time to assemble a close season hit-list he has been impressed by the Leeds-born defender. Rose is also understood to want to sign for Sunderland in the summer, having grown fed up of playing second fiddle at Spurs.
He would only countenance a return to North London if he was guaranteed first-team football. However, finding an agreement on his valuation could be difficult.
Tottenham will want upwards of £8million for the defender - while Sunderland would probably be looking to spend no more than £6million, even though they recognise Spurs are difficult negotiators.
While Sunderland ponder the valuation of Rose, Derby County are understood to be ready to make a summer move for derby hero David Vaughan.
The Welsh international had been frozen out by Martin O’Neill but a change in manager has reinvigorated his Black Cats career, and his stunning goal at St James’ Park has transformed him into an instant cult hero.
Now Championship club Derby are monitoring his availability.
It is up to Di Canio to decide whether to persevere with a player who has impressed in spells since moving from Blackpool but has not managed to nail down a first team spot.
Di Canio’s early success has captured the imagination of Sunderland fans and nearly carried the team to top-flight safety, but it shouldn’t obscure the fact there are similar pressing issues to the ones that faced O’Neill at the end of the season.
A squad overhaul was being planned under the former Black Cats boss but it remains to be seen whether Di Canio will push through plans to refresh the midfield and bring in another striker to try and add more firepower to the Wearsiders.
He also has decisions to make on a number of his fringe men like Vaughan, who might consider a move closer to his wife’s family in Crewe.
Di Canio is understood to be an admirer of Vaughan, whose ability and technique was illustrated perfectly by his stunning Tyne-Wear derby strike at St James’ Park.
The Italian wants his Sunderland team next year to have more players capable of moving the ball quickly with accuracy and Vaughan fits the bill on those fronts.
Whether he will chose to bring in new recruits is to fill that role is another matter.
As much as he is looking to the present and securing top-flight survival, Di Canio has one eye on the future.
He has already given some thought to whether Danny Graham could play alongside Steven Fletcher, for example.
He said: “I saw the Norwich game when there was Graham and Fletcher.
“They can play together, but you need to use different mechanisms. One of them needs to drop.”