SUNDERLAND are expected to face stern competition from their Premier League rivals, if they make a move for Brighton midfielder Liam Bridcutt.
Reports yesterday again linked the Black Cats with a January raid on Gus Poyet’s former club Brighton for ex-Chelsea trainee Bridcutt.
The 24-year-old has just 18 months remaining on his contract at the Amex Stadium and the Seagulls are braced for an uphill task to keep him in the transfer window.
Crystal Palace saw a £1.75million bid rejected during the summer and Sunderland would need to make a more tempting offer to prise Bridcutt away from Brighton.
But while Poyet is widely expected to return to his old stomping ground for Bridcutt, Sunderland would have to beat off competition from elsewhere.
Bridcutt is thought to have several admirers in the top flight and while Sunderland would be confident of matching any financial outlay, the Black Cats’ perilous league position could count against them.
The holding midfielder would be potentially face returning to the Championship just six months into his Sunderland career, with Poyet’s men four points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table.
It is a danger that Poyet is aware of.
“If we don’t move forwards, then maybe a few of them (transfer targets) will say ‘Well, no’,” he said earlier this month.
Sunderland are also thought to be keen on landing a new left-back and have been linked with former loanee Wayne Bridge, currently plying his trade for Championship Reading.
Meanwhile, reports in Sweden claim Sunderland are one of three clubs in the running for teenage striker Valmir Berisha.
The 17-year-old has been scouted by clubs across Europe and would represent another addition to Sunderland’s development squad.