Sunderland have opened talks with Valencia over a deal for Liverpool target Aly Cissokho as their hunt for a left-back heads towards a conclusion this week.
The Black Cats are in Hong Kong ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy, but are confident of finally securing a deal for an international full-back this week, with Velez Sarsfield’s highly-rated Gino Peruzzi still the firm favourite to fill the berth.
His club confirmed on their website yesterday that the £3.3m transfer is expected to be completed when Ellis Short returns from a business trip later this week.
But Sunderland are clearly taking no risks, and have put an impressive insurance plan in place.
The Journal understands that their interest in France international Cissokho is more advanced than first thought as they rival Brendan Rodgers’ Reds for the player’s signature.
Sources close to the player have revealed Sunderland have held talks with Cissokho’s representatives and are willing to meet his wage demands – with the player keen on a move to England.
Reports from Spain claimed Liverpool were on the brink of signing Cissokho last night but it is understood that no deal has yet been put in place as the Black Cats look to ensure there are no further hiccups in their left-back recruitment plans.
It adds further intrigue to the chase for Peruzzi, which has stalled over the past week despite a trip to Europe to complete the formalities of a five-year contract with the Black Cats.
That was clarified by a statement by Velez Sarsfield yesterday which confirmed the move had been delayed over a minor ligament injury that the club wanted more details about. Velez asserted that the transfer will be completed by the end of the week, although there has been no comment from Sunderland so far.
Velez’s statement read: “As reported earlier, during the week directors Baldomar and Ordonez travelled to England with the player Gino Peruzzi to advance negotiations over the latter’s transfer to Sunderland.
“After agreeing contractual terms, the player underwent a medical examination.
“The professionals found repercussions from the torn ligament Peruzzi suffered last April against Olimpo in the Copa Argentina, which prompted a three-week absence from games.
“To obtain further information about the injury and its evolution, they made contact with Dr Ricard Coppolechia, who answered their questions.
“After this, Sunderland requested permission to subject Gino Peruzzi to a final evaluation at the Clinica Deportiva Villa Stuart in Rome, which is directed by Professor Pier Paolo Mariani.
“The evaluation had a positive result with Prof Mariani recommending specific work on the affected muscle area.
“Meanwhile, Sunderland had travelled to Hong Kong for some international matches, so the English club’s authorities communicated their intention to sign the contract on the return of their president in the course of this week.
“Our club’s entourage returned to Argentina on Sunday, anticipating that Gino Peruzzi will travel to England again in the coming days.”
The transfer – along with Sunderland’s hunt for a new left-back – has developed into something of a saga in recent weeks, and the Argentinian club clearly expected it to have reached a conclusion by now. Velez’s club doctor Ricardo Coppelecchia was quoted by a newspaper as expressing his “surprise” that Peruzzi’s medical had thrown up an issue – saying the 21-year-old was in good shape.
Sunderland have also had an interest in Luis Cavanda and Danny Rose, but the former signed a new contract with Lazio yesterday and it appears as if Tottenham are unwilling to sell their England under-21 man.