SUNDERLAND’S interest in Zambian international defender Stoppila Sunzu has cooled.
It has emerged that, far from being a potential Bosman capture, he would cost in the region of £4million to sign.
The 23-year-old, who helped his country win the African Cup of Nations last year, was at Sunderland earlier this month following a brief trial period at Reading.
But any prospect of an immediate move has receded with the resolution of a contract dispute with his club TP Mazembe proving that he remains under contract with the club until 2015.
O’Neill said: “What has happened there is that he had gone to Reading believing he was a free agent.
“Reading were interested in him and dealt with it properly and they decided to pull out of any move until they felt things were successfully resolved.
“In the meantime, he was still in the country and was looking at places to go and we were a possibility because we could be construed as short of defensive cover despite bringing Kader Mangane in.
“But it looks clear now that the situation has been resolved and he is. in fact. under contract and would command a transfer fee.”