STEVE BRUCE refuses to give up hope of landing Lee Cattermole from former club Wigan, despite last night's £5million-plus capture of Marseille's imposing midfield enforcer Lorik Cana.
The Cana deal was concluded while Bruce was watching his side fall to a 2-0 loss to Benfica in the Amsterdam Tournament.
The 31-times capped Albania international will not link up with Sunderland until next week, when he will be joined by fellow new boys Fraizer Campbell and Paulo Da Silva.
And he will inherit the skipper's armband from Dean Whitehead, whose switch to Stoke was concluded yesterday afternoon.
Asked if the arrival of Cana on a four-year deal signalled the end of his pursuit of Cattermole – who Wigan are determined to retain – Bruce responded: "It is a position where we haven't got much available with Dean gone and if good players become available, we will be in for them.
"Lee is still in that category. I have not given up hope. I have got to be respectful to Wigan and they're within their rights not wanting to sell, but we'll have to see what develops."
The Echo had revealed yesterday that Cana was in Holland for talks with Bruce over a deal that was quickly concluded.
And the Sunderland manager said: "Cana will be the captain.
"He's been the captain of Marseille, he's the captain of Albania and he's a real competitor – the type of player we needed after Dean Whitehead joined Stoke.
"I'm delighted to get a player like that. It was refreshing to see his attitude because he came to our hotel, wanted to stay and get signed and had his medical over here in Holland.
"That bodes well for the club.
"He's powerful, he's been a winner all his life and I'm sure he's suited to the Premier League."
The 25-year-old – 26 on Monday – was being courted by other clubs.
And Bruce added: "I'm delighted to have brought Lorik to the club, especially given the number of clubs who had expressed an interest in signing him.
"He brings with him a tremendous amount of experience both at club level and internationally and is a great addition to our squad.
"To captain a side of Marseille's stature says a lot about the player and his character, and I'm sure he'll go on to be a fantastic signing for Sunderland.
"It's a coup for us."