BLACKBURN Rovers have warned Sunderland they and other potential suitors will have to spend big on David Hoilett – even though the forward is out of contract.
The Ewood Park club have not thrown the towel in on re-signing the man known as “Junior” as his father is also called David, and if – as seems highly likely – they cannot, they are determined to make it as awkward as possible for others to sign him.
Because Hoilett is 22, Blackburn will be looking for a big compensation pay-out.
The Canadian is much in demand this summer after failing to sign a contract extension at the end of an impressive Premier League season when he scored seven goals in 37 appearances.
Sunderland would love to sign Hoilett if they can accommodate him within their wage structure, but are just one club in a very long queue. Newcastle United, Queen’s Park Rangers, Everton and Borussia Mönchengladbach have all been persistently linked.
Even though Rovers will be spending next season in the Championship, manager Steve Kean has not given up hope of Hoilett returning.
“Junior is out of contract and we’ve made him a very good offer,” he said. “It’s not dead yet. “If a club in this country signs him, there will be big compensation.
“We’d like him still to be here but I’m in the dark a little bit.
“When a player runs out of contract, you make him a good offer and he doesn’t sign, you fear the worst, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Even discounting Blackburn – which seems a safe bet – manager Martin O’Neill will have to be at his most persuasive to lure Hoilett.
Local rivals Newcastle can offer Europa League football, while Bundesliga side Mönchengladbach are in next season’s Champions League.
It would be no surprise if QPR blew all their rivals out of the water in terms of wages as they continue to flex their financial muscles this summer. Attacking players are a high priority at the Stadium of Light after O’Neill opted against making Nicklas Bendtner’s loan from Arsenal permanent.
The Black Cats are not exactly down to the bare bones in that department, but their frequent use of Stéphane Sessègnon as a lone striker shows the reality. When Bendtner was unavailable he often did not seem to trust anyone else at No.9.
Fraizer Campbell only started to feel his way back from a second cruciate knee ligament operation halfway through the campaign and although it saw him make his England debut, his one-goal return in the league was more telling of his form. That was as many as Connor Wickham scored in his debut season in England’s top flight and only one less than Ji Dong-won, playing European football for the first time.
Even so, the club were prepared to release 22-year-old Jordan Cook, who has joined Championship new boys Charlton Athletic.
The news will come as a huge disappointment at Carlisle United, where he scored four goals in 14 games on loan last term.
The Cumbrians ended the season expecting the arrangement to be made permanent once Cook’s Sunderland contract expired.
But with Cook’s agent proving evasive, manager Gregg Abbott sensed a move elsewhere was in the offing.
Meanwhile, new youth coach Craig Liddle has tipped Jordan Pickford for great things after the goalkeeper impressed him at Darlington last season.
Liddle was caretaker manager of the Quakers, then in the Conference, when Pickford arrived on loan to play 17 games for the crisis club. Liddle liked what he saw of the 18-year-old England youth player.
“Jordan had a real good introduction into first-team football,” he told Sunderland’s official website. “I think it’s done him the world of good to go out and play in a different environment and see what it’s like at the bottom end of football.”
Liddle joined Sunderland following Darlington’s demotion to the Northern League.