SANTIAGO VERGINI is still on Sunderland’s list of transfer targets after the Black Cats boosted their defensive options last night with the capture of Patrick van Aanholt.
Dutch international van Aanholt became Sunderland’s fourth summer signing yesterday when he penned a four-year deal at the Stadium of Light for an undisclosed fee - thought to be around the £1.5million mark - from Chelsea.
Van Aanholt is due to meet up with his new team-mates at Sunderland’s pre-season training camp in Portugal today after the rest of Gus Poyet’s side flew to the Algarve yesterday morning.
But the capture of the 23-year-old will not be the last addition to Sunderland’s defensive ranks this summer, with Vergini’s name remaining on the club’s list of targets.
Vergini’s improvement during his five-month loan stint at Sunderland in the second half of last season saw Gus Poyet make no secret of his desire to re-sign the 25-year-old on a permanent basis. With a modest fee thought to have been pencilled into the loan if Sunderland were impressed, a deal with Argentine outfit Estudiantes looked to be relatively straightforward.
Sources close to Vergini had also indicated that the versatile defender was keen on extending his stay at the Stadium of Light.
But since the end of last season, talk over Vergini’s future has ground to a halt, albeit he did spend time during the World Cup training with runners-up Argentina.
Sunderland boss Poyet has confirmed that he is still looking to land Vergini though after he played a key role at right-back during the final seven games of last season which saw the Black Cats beat the drop.
Poyet told SportMail: “Vergini is still ongoing.
“We started a bit late because of different issues.
“But, yes, it’s still a possibility.”
Van Aanholt becomes the only recognised left-back in Sunderland’s squad, but the Black Cats are unlikely to end their pursuit of last season’s loanee Marcos Alonso, with Poyet keen to have competition for places.
Sunderland are also eager to add a new central defender to their ranks, with veterans John O’Shea and Wes Brown in the final year of their contracts at the Stadium of Light. The club’s bid to sign Swansea skipper Ashley Williams came to naught earlier this month when he penned a new deal at the Welsh outfit.
But Celtic centre-half Virgil van Dijk could be an alternative after Sunderland scouts watched the Dutchman in Tuesday’s Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik.
SportMail understands from sources north of the border that van Dijk could be available for far less than the £10million which was mooted in some reports earlier this week.