SUNDERLAND could make a second raid on Juventus, if Middle Eastern interest in Stephane Sessegnon develops.
The Black Cats have already landed one player from the Italian giants this summer after signing Emanuele Giaccherini in a £6m deal.
And they are now mooted to have made an enquiry for striker Fabio Quagliarella, although any potential deal looks likely to revolve around a departure from Sunderland’s striking options.
Reports in France over the weekend suggested there is interest in Sessegnon from Qatar and the Benin international could make a lucrative departure from the Stadium of Light, as Asamoah Gyan did two years ago.
There has been speculation on Sessegnon’s future throughout the summer, with Sunderland understood to have been willing to listen to offers for the 29-year-old, who only penned a new contract on Wearside last August.
But Sessegnon is thought to have wanted to remain in Europe, scuppering interest from China in the former Paris St-Germain forward.
After returning to pre-season training with Sunderland last month too, Sessegnon has been enthused by Paolo Di Canio’s blueprints for the side’s new style of play and told the Echo a fortnight ago of his eagerness to remain at the Stadium of Light.
“I’m happy at Sunderland. We’ve worked well in pre-season and hopefully we can continue like this,” he said.
“I’m enjoying it at Sunderland and my mind is for Sunderland now.”
Di Canio is thought to have been referring to Sessegnon when he spoke of his frustration with a French-speaking player after last week’s friendly win against FC Midtjylland.
But the head coach then confirmed his happiness with the variety of strikers now at his disposal after the summer capture of Jozy Altidore and the imminent return to fitness of Steven Fletcher.
“We now have a good group of strikers with different characteristics and I can now make changes,” said Di Canio.
“If we have five strikers, plus the young striker (Mikael Mandron) we have good competition for places and desire to prove themselves and take a place in the starting XI.
“That makes me very happy because last year we were struggling up front.”
But there were widespread reports in Italy yesterday that Sunderland had made an enquiry with Juventus over taking Quagliarella on loan, with a view to a permanent move.
The 30-year-old, who has also been targeted by Norwich City this summer, is considered surplus to requirement by Juventus, who are thought to prefer a straight cash deal, rather than a loan.
Sunderland would need to sell before landing Quagliarella, although Sessegnon is not the only possible departure up front.
Ji Dong-won, who has been hampered by injury during pre-season, has been handed a second chance on Wearside by Di Canio, but the South Korean could still leave the club if Sunderland receive a bid in excess of £5million.