SUNDERLAND’S interest in Tim Cahill has cooled, with the former Everton midfielder now NOT expected to make a short-term return to the Premier League.
Martin O’Neill targeted Cahill as a quick-fix in the middle of the park after seeing Lee Cattermole ruled out through injury until next month and Craig Gardner filling in at right-back.
The Black Cats held talks over a loan deal for the New York Red Bulls man during the MLS off-season, which would have seen Cahill spend less than two months at the Stadium of Light.
But Sunderland have now all but ended their pursuit of the 33-year-old, who has also been interesting Aston Villa and QPR.
The deal always needed to be concluded in the first throws of the January window, with Red Bulls beginning their pre-season campaign in mid-February.
And with Sunderland on the verge of boosting their midfield through the capture of French Under-21 international Alfred N’Diaye, and Red Bulls not particularly keen on a temporary exit for Cahill, there looks little chance of resurrecting the move.
With Sunderland hopeful of landing both N’Diaye and Swansea striker Danny Graham, O’Neill’s immediate focus now is on boosting his central defensive options.
The injury to Carlos Cuellar at Bolton has left O’Neill with just two fit centre-halves at his disposal – Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon, both of whom are expected to leave the club when their contracts expire in the summer.
Hungarian defender Roland Juhasz has been heavily linked with a loan move to the Stadium of Light, but club sources continue to insist there is no imminent deal for the 29-year-old.
Juhasz has fallen out of favour at Anderlecht and looks certain to leave the club this month after talks with manager Herman van Holsbeeck. Ukrainian outfit Dnipro are interested in a permanent switch for Juhasz, but even though the former Bayern Munich target would prefer a move to the Premier League, Sunderland insist they haven’t made a firm approach for the defender.
Juhasz said: “I’d really like to stay with a club in Western Europe and Sunderland really interests me, but if Dnipro made an offer, I would not say no.”
One centre-half who Sunderland look almost certain to miss out on is Swedish international Andreas Granqvist.
O’Neill has been tracking Granqvist for several months after watching the 27-year-old in action for Sweden against England in November.
Dynamo Kiev made a bid of around £6m for the Genoa man, although AC Milan could now gazump the Ukraine outfit to keep Granqvist in Italy.
Genoa are understood to have stalled Granqvist’s move to Kiev as they search for a suitable replacement and that has given Milan a window of opportunity to land the former Wigan man.