Belfast Telegraph

Keane wants defensive duo to join Healy at Sunderland

Sunderland's determination to strengthen their squad further this summer has taken them to Fulham's David Healy as well as West Ham's Anton Ferdinand, while Roy Keane may also have activated his year-old interest in his former colleague at Manchester United, Mikaël Silvestre.

There was no official comment from the Wearside club yesterday on any of the possible transfers, but Healy would appear to be the closest to completion.

Had other factors fallen into place Healy, 29, would have joined Sunderland when he was a Leeds United player 18 months ago. The Northern Ireland striker has since moved to Fulham but he has been unable to establish himself under Roy Hodgson, having been bought by Lawrie Sanchez. The fee would be around £1.5m but Fulham are thought to be trying to do a swap deal involving a Sunderland midfielder.

Keane spoke once again about the need for new recruits in the wake of their spirited home defeat to Liverpool on Saturday and the club has no one occupying the No 3, No 5 and No 9 shirts. Healy might not be given the latter, though, as Keane wants more than one striker with his current centre-forward, Kenwyne Jones, injured until October.

Healy is due to play for Northern Ireland at Hampden Park tonight.

Sheffield United's James Beattie is another thought to be under consideration, although the 30 year-old former Southampton and Everton striker is only coming back from injury and may not be able to play for a fortnight.

Having agreed terms club-to-club with West Ham for Ferdinand – the transfer fee is believed to be worth around £8m – Sunderland were awaiting the 23-year-old defender's opinion on a move away from London. Tottenham and Aston Villa are said to be monitoring Ferdinand's status at Upton Park.

The goal scored by Fernando Torres at the Stadium of Light once again reinforced Keane's view that he requires another centre-half, Jonny Evans having returned to Old Trafford after his hugely impressive loan spell. Keane had to pair Nyron Nosworthy and Danny Collins.

Intriguingly Silvestre can play in the centre of defence as well as at left back. The 31-year-old missed seven months of last season with a bad knee ligament injury, shortly after Sunderland had first expressed some interest in bringing him to Wearside. With Patrice Evra seizing the left-back spot and with Nemanja Vidic a partner for Rio Ferdinand, Silvestre's opportunities will be limited at United, whom he joined from Internazionale nine years ago.

Belfast Telegraph


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