Sunderland may lose striker Ignacio Scocco who is wanted by former club

Black Cats are ready for a tug-of-war over the forward, who is wanted by former club Newell's

Action Images / Lee Smith Sunderland's Ignacio Scocco
Sunderlands' Ignacio Scocco

Gustavo Poyet wants to keep striker Ignacio Scocco at Sunderland – but knows that he faces an uphill battle.

Scocco’s old club Newell’s have sent a representative over to Wearside to try and thrash out a deal for a striker who has made it clear that he is looking for a new start. And the Sunderland boss is aware that his forward, while a valuable asset, cannot be forced to stay at the Stadium of Light next term.

He said: “Scocco is a distinct and unique player who can achieve great things, clubs around the world want him and everyone knows what kind of player he is.

“I will respect the decision of Nacho and I’ll understand perfectly, I want to keep him here and I have told him that I will consider but the decision is not mine alone.”

As Scocco is poised to join Newell’s, he is set to be joined by former Black Cats goalkeeper Oscar Ustari – who is ready to move to Argentina.

Poyet added: “Ustari is a goalkeeper with spectacular conditions who sees things others do not notice, I wanted to retain him but he wanted to play and to return to his home country.”

Meanwhile, Poyet feels that Sunderland’s pre-season stint in Portugal will give the club the perfect preparation for the new season.

The club are heading to the Algarve for warm-weather training and three matches which Poyet sees as key to knitting his team for next year.

“It’s important, especially for me. At the start it’s a mix between the fitness and the football, and there is a time – the one we’re going to spend in Portugal – which is tactically fundamental.

“For me, those nine days, three games and probably 14 or 15 training sessions are the key. My previous experience has been incredible. I’ve been on pre-season in England during one of the hottest summers ever, where we couldn’t even train at two in the afternoon.

“Then I had one of the wettest summers ever in England where we couldn’t train because of how wet it was.

“The idea of going to Portugal is to be 100% sure that you have all the sessions in a calm environment. The players are together and have time to talk and spend time to know each other, to make a good group and be ready for the season.

“It’s a key part of the preparation.”

  • West Ham have announced the signing of former Charlton midfielder Diego Poyet after the two clubs agreed a compensation package for the teenager. The 19-year-old, son of Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet, was the Addicks’ player of the year.

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