Sunderland have made a loan offer to Udinese for Matej Vydra, the Czech Republic striker who scored 22 goals for Watford last season.
The Journal can reveal the Black Cats are one of several Premier League clubs in the hunt for the highly-rated forward – but they have been told to come up with a cash offer if they want to land the 21-year-old.
Udinese are ready to sell the forward but want more than £8million for him, and have already turned down one offer from an unnamed Premier League club. But there is a note of hope for Sunderland because his agent Ondrej Chovanec says the idea of working under Paolo Di Canio is “interesting” for his client.
“It is correct that Sunderland are interested, but they are interested in a loan at the moment. They don’t want to spend that money at the moment,” he told The Journal. “The final decision is with Udinese Calcio and the owner Giampaolo Pozzo and there are a lot of clubs interested in this player.
“Matej is a quality player and a top player for them, so they will be looking for the best deal available. He can play in a top level and I think that is what he will be doing next season.”
With the red and white Italian revolution it is little surprise that the Black Cats have registered an interest in one of Serie A’s top prospects.
There is an obvious link in Valentino Angeloni, who used to be Udinese’s chief scout, but Di Canio also knows Chovanec from his playing days.
A plethora of teams including Chelsea and Tottenham have been credited with an interest in Vydra, but Chovanec says his client would be interested in the “project”.
“Of course it is very interesting. I know Di Canio from when he was a player because I was the agent of Thomas Repka, who also played for West Ham.
“I also had a Czech Republic international, Lukas Magera, who went to Swindon.
“I think he builds a new team and he wants to get players who want to work hard and who are quick. He plays interesting football and he wants a squad that is capable of challenging for him next season.
“So it is an interesting club – but then Sunderland is always an interesting club in England.
“To work with Paolo Di Canio would be a good thing. I think he will probably end up coaching with one of the very top teams in England.”
The link is an intriguing one, because Sunderland do have money to spend this summer – as they proved with bids for Alfred Duncan and Luis Cavanda.
They are also understood to have made some kind of contact with Jermaine Defoe’s agent, although the veteran Tottenham striker might not be as easy to mould into Di Canio’s preferred system as Vydra would.
Vydra was set to return to Watford permanently if they secured promotion, but failing in the play-off final has left the striker open to other offers.
As Sunderland look to make signings, others are heading for the exit door.
The Black Cats are locked in discussions with Liverpool over Simon Mignolet’s valuation, while David Vaughan has been the subject of an enquiry from Crystal Palace. The Wales international – also wanted by Cardiff – is available and Sunderland are looking to generate more cash to rebuild their squad by letting several fringe players leave.