SUNDERLAND have had a bid turned down for Kader Mangane, but Al-Hilal expect the giant central defender to join the Black Cats this month.
The Saudi Arabian side’s Twitter feed quoted chairman Prince Abdulrahman bin Musa’ad as saying: “We received an official bid from Sunderland for Mangane, we will look into the offer and consider our position and we may see the player leave Al-Hilal this month.”
While it is thought Al-Hilal rejected the initial bid – the size of which is unknown – the indications are they view that as the start of the negotiating process, rather than the end.
There were reports circulating last night but not confirmed by Sunderland they had “officially agreed” to a six-month loan with a view to a permanent summer deal.
The £5m-rated Mangane (pictured left) has handed in a transfer request at Al-Hilal, who signed a ready-made replacement in Colombian international Gustavo Bolívar on a three-year contract. Mangane, a 6ft 5in defender, was linked with Arsenal, Newcastle United and West Ham United in the summer, but moved instead to the Middle East after leaving French Ligue 1 outfit Rennes.
Although he is playing in a footballing backwater, the Senegal international has experienced European football, having also played for Young Boys, Neuchâtel Xamax Young Boys and Lens.
Mangane injured his knee playing against Udinese in the Europa League in September 2011 and had surgery in March.
He has since recovered, but Sunderland will scrutinise his medical carefully.
It means a deal cannot be taken for granted even when a fee is agreed but, after a day when a number of Black Cats’ targets started to look less likely, the 29-year-old is emerging as a real possibility.
Sunderland signed Alfred N’Diaye on Wednesday and Mangane – who has French nationality – is the reverse of him in that he is a centre-back who can also play as a holding midfielder.
Both are imposing figures, suggesting a more physical approach in the second half of what has so far been a disappointing season.
The Wearsiders had been monitoring defenders Roland Juhasz and Andreas Granqvist, but both look as though they will be moving elsewhere in the transfer window.
Reports in Belgium and Hungary suggest Anderlecht’s Juhasz has agreed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Tranzonspor.
Sunderland were one of a number of Premier League clubs who watched Sweden centre-back Granqvist once it became an open secret he would leave Genoa in 2013, but it now appears the former Wigan player is heading for Dynamo Kiev.
Granqvist said: “I am happy in Genoa, but it is no secret I would like to play for a club who play in the Champions League or Europa League.
“I know Dynamo Kiev and Genoa are negotiating.”
Having started the season in the Champions League, Dynamo will play Europa League football after the winter break.
While anxious to bolster a thin squad, manager Martin O’Neill has shown he is still prepared to move on players who have no realistic part in his future plans.
David Meyler has joined Hull City for £1.5m and N’Diaye’s arrival has aroused interest in Wales midfielder David Vaughan.
Championship contenders Crystal Palace are said to be looking at a loan move for the 29-year-old.
Palace are managed by Ian Holloway, boss of Blackpool when Vaughan enjoyed the most successful spell of his career there.
Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will not face action for his Boxing Day comments at the Stadium of Light.
The Italian was unhappy with referee Kevin Friend’s performance in his side’s 1-0 defeat to Sunderland. But the FA appear to have seen the funny side of his comments that: “The referee ate too much for Christmas. After Christmas, it can happen to have a bad performance.”