Wolves boss admits Sunderland target Fletcher could leave before this weekend

CLOSING IN ... Steven Fletcher, right, looks set to join Sunderland.
CLOSING IN ... Steven Fletcher, right, looks set to join Sunderland.

WOLVES boss Stale Solbakken admits some of his players could leave before the weekend as Sunderland’s pursuit of Steven Fletcher rumbles on.

Fletcher was again absent from the Wolves squad for last night’s 3-1 Molineux victory over Barnsley, with the 25-year-old taking his time in recovering from an ankle injury.

Sunderland re-entered into discussions with Wolves last week and the Black Cats are thought to be making gradual progress in their hopes of signing their principal summer target.

But the two clubs are still to reach a final agreement on a fee after Sunderland’s improved offer of around £12million was rejected by the Championship outfit last week.

it is understood Sunderland are not willing to go above that figure - albeit there may be manoeuvre over how much is paid up front - and Wolves are now backtracking from the £15m price tag they slapped on Fletcher, despite the striker submitting a transfer request.

Sunderland remain quietly confident that a deal will be struck though and Solbakken is equally eager for a line to be drawn under the saga.

With Wolves similarly determined to achieve their £10m-plus asking price for West Ham target Matt Jarvis - who has featured in both the opening two league games - Solbakken faces an uncertain nine remaining days of the transfer window.

Solbakken said: “It’s going to be a busy time before September 1,

“If we lose Fletcher, Jarvis or both we have a tough job to do. We will have to rebuild the team in a way and that will probably take a little more time.

“I’m sure players will go and come in – maybe even before the Derby game (on Saturday).

“If valuations are matched, something can happen. I don’t know if the clubs (Sunderland and Wolves) are still talking.

“But I want the transfer window closed now. That would suit me.”

Meanwhile, Solbakken last night scotched reports that Sunderland striker Connor Wickham would be used as a makeweight in the deal.

“I’ve been in no contact whatsoever with this player,” he said.

Sunderland also continue to be linked with a season-long loan for Manchester City’s John Guidetti, although any move is likely to hinge on their success in signing Fletcher.

Guidett’s agent Per Jonsson says 15 clubs have enquired about the availability of the 20-year-old, who has now recovered from the virus which forced him to miss the summer’s European Championships.

The Swedish international, stamped with a £7m asking price by City, enjoyed a prolific loan spell at Feyenoord last season – netting 20 goals in 23 games – but the Dutch outfit admit he is unlikely to return.

Feyenoord technical director Martin van Geel said today: “At the last minute, anything can happen, but we are not assuming that the return of John is realistic.”

Jonsson, rubbished talk of an impending loan to Italian outfit Siena yesterday, but seems in little doubt that the striker will secure a move away from the Etihad.

“There are 15 clubs who have enquired about the options for John,” said Jonsson, also the representative of Sunderland midfielder Seb Larsson.

“Right now there are negotiations with City. It’s up to them, but I believe everything will work out in the end.”

O’Neill is not limiting his recruitment drive to strikers, with Sunderland continuing their efforts to boost the squad on several fronts.

Sunderland are still the only club to have submitted a bid for Manchester City’s Adam Johnson, while O’Neill has also made inquiries for Spurs duo Danny Rose and Jermaine Jenas.