SUNDERLAND’S search for a new left-back is set to take them to Germany next.
While the Black Cats have had great success bringing in players this summer, signing eight new players with Juventus midifelder Emanuele Giaccherini expected next, what has become their most problematic position in recent years remains a problem.
Incredibly, Sunderland have not had a specialist left-back since George McCartney and although it is a high priority for new director of football Roberto de Fanti, he has not yet found a solution.
So with a deal for top target Lucas Obran stalling, Sunderland are thought to be investigating a ï¿½5m move for Eintracht Frankfurt’s Bastian Oczipka (pictured left) .
The 24-year-old German has caught the eye in his first season at Frankfurt. Oczipka is an attacking full-back, who was credited with eight assists from 33 Bundesliga appearances last term. Their interest could be an attempt to up the ante as they haggle over a move for Tigre’s Lucas Obran.
Sunderland have been trying for some time to persuade the Argentine defender to join them rather than River Plate, who hold a 50% stake in him.
Le Havre’s Benjamin Mendy and BATE Borisov’s Maksim Bordachev are other possible options, but neither looks likely to come to anything.
Sunderland’s first-choice is Danny Rose, who impressed on a season-long loan spell last term. But tying up that deal will take time with no guarantee of success, and Paolo Di Canio wants to get as many of his signings through the door for the pre-season programme.
Tottenham Hotspur’s current first-choice left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto has reportedly been offered to West Ham, suggesting they may be preparing to make room for the England Under-21 defender. If not, Stoke are interested.
And Sunderland learned from their attempts to strike a similar deal for Alan Hutton that Spurs could set demand an unrealistic price for the player.
Oczipka started his senior career with Bayer Leverkusen and had loan spells with Hansa Rostock and St Pauli before joining Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, midfielder Giaccherini is expected to undergo a medical at Sunderland’s Italian training camp on Monday after a deal was struck with Juventus. Coach Antonio Conte said: “Giaccherini was valued, they offered him an important contract. I’m happy for him but unhappy for me.
“I’m not happy with the sale of Giaccherini but in times of crisis when you buy you must also make sacrifices.”
The fee is expected to be around ï¿½6.8m and will go some way to covering the transfer fee Juve paid Manchester City for Carlos Tevez.
Giaccherini has scored twice in 14 appearances for Italy. The 28-year-old started off as a winger before being converted to a central attacking role.
While the Wearsiders have made impressive progress in bringing players in, moving them on has been more problematic. Owner Ellis Short will want to see the additions offset by outgoings, but there has been little interest so far in the players Di Canio has written off.
Their only significant sale to date has been goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who joined Liverpool in a ï¿½9m deal. Right-back Phil Bardsley has been told to find a new club after upsetting the Italian with his late-night antics in a casino.
Fulham are thought to be one of the clubs interested in taking the former Manchester United youth product, but Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones has ruled his team out of the equation.