SUNDERLAND’s search for a new left-back has become more pressing with the Black Cats thought to have run out of patience with Argentine target Lucas Orban.
Despite boosting the first-team squad with eight fresh additions so far this summer, Sunderland remain without a specialist left-back on the books after the departure of last season’s loanee Danny Rose.
The Black Cats, along with Spanish clubs Villarreal and Sevilla, have been waiting since last month for a decision from Orban, as he ponders his future at Argentine club Atletico Tigre.
But the saga has dragged on and on and remains without a resolution.
Orban has an offer on the table from River Plate – who already own 50 per cent of his registration – yet the deal is complicated and there is even a suggestion that he could sign a new contract with Tigre.
Sources close to Orban admit they now expect Sunderland to look elsewhere and call a halt to the pursuit of one of their main summer targets.
Neither is Rose likely to be a viable option, despite the England Under-21 international’s hugely-successful stint at the Stadium of Light.
Spurs are reportedly ready to give Rose a first-team opportunity at White Hart Lane next season, with boss Andre Villas-Boas willing to offload last season’s first-choice left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
But with Sunderland also losing out to Marseille in the race for French defender Benjamin Mendy, the Wearsiders are having to re-cast their net for a new left-back.
Sunderland were given no encouragement after making an inquiry for Eintracht Frankfurt’s Bastian Oczipka last week, while they have also been linked with Inter Milan’s Italian Under-21 international Cristiano Biraghi.
The most viable option for Biraghi next season is to remain in Italy on loan, with interest from Serie A outfits Catania and Sassuolo Calcio, plus Serie B side Palermo.
But Biraghi’s agent, Mario Giuffredi, admits a move to Sunderland, where the 20-year-old would be reunited with ex-Inter chief scout Valentino Angeloni, is an attractive one.
“At the moment, I put the Premier League as the boy’s first-choice,” said Giuffredi. “Playing in England is the dream of all the players.
“There is also Angeloni (Sunderland chief scout) who knows the guy right from the youth team and (Paolo) Di Canio is a great coach.
“It is definitely a welcome destination, we’ll see the evolution of the market.”