Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Bruce ponders Bent replacement

Steve Bruce

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is hoping for a transfer breakthrough ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Blackpool.

However, the Black Cats are prepared to wait until the summer to land a long-term replacement for striker Darren Bent. Bent left a huge hole in Bruce's squad when he completed his £24million switch to Aston Villa on Tuesday, and Bruce and chairman Niall Quinn know that gap will take some plugging.

They are equally aware, though, that the January market often does not yield the best value for money, and are unlikely to spend heavily in haste.

Villa's John Carew is among a series of British-based targets - Cardiff's Jay Bothroyd and Stoke's Ricardo Fuller are understood to be two of the others - the Black Cats believe could add an important depth to their squad.

However, they are also looking further afield as they assess their options for a long-term partner for record signing Asamoah Gyan - currently the club's only fit senior striker.

Press Association Sport understands they are considering bringing in a frontman from overseas, initially on a loan basis with a view to a permanent move during the summer if he proves he is up to the task.

They have been linked with Monaco's Congolese striker Dieumerci Mbokani, but are looking at a range of alternatives after shifting their focus in the wake of Bent's shock defection.

The foreign market is a more attractive prospect for a loan move because Sunderland have filled their quota of two temporary domestic signings, with Nedum Onuoha and Danny Welbeck on season-long deals at the Stadium of Light.

A permanent switch for either would free up a spot - Premier League clubs are allowed four loan players a season, but only two at any one time - but Bruce has already admitted that is unlikely to happen.

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