STEVE Bruce is considering a move for Sunderland winger Ahmed Elmohamady and might also try to tempt David Meyler into joining him at Hull City.
The former Black Cats boss has already raided his old club to bring in coaches Keith Bertschin and Stephen Clemence.
Now he is looking at potential recruits from the playing staff with Elmohamady a real possibility if the Egyptian international is allowed to leave the Stadium of Light this summer.
The inconsistent 24-year-old had a disappointing 2011-12 campaign, used increasingly sparingly by Bruce and hardly at all by new boss Martin O’Neill.
But his Sunderland future has yet to be fully resolved and the African hopes for sit-down talks with the Sunderland manager when he reports back for training at the end of the month.
He will be happy to stay but should he be told he can leave, then Bruce will be interested.
The Echo understands that West Ham remain interested despite not pushing their interest beyond the initial enquiry stage so far, and other clubs have also been in touch.
But Bruce would hope to be in a strong position if he goes in for a player blessed with pace and control and the versatility to play at right-back or right-wing.
Hull’s owner, British-based businessman Assem Allam, is of Egyptian origin and might be persuaded to find the £1.5m to £2m which would likely be the asking price.
And Bruce, who scouted and signed Elmohamady for Sunderland in 2010, first on loan and then on a £2m permanent deal, would hope his past relationship with the player would also stand him in good stead as far as personal negotiations were concerned.
Elmohamady has two years remaining on his contract and is not an expensive option for Sunderland to keep on their books. But his future is likely to come down to whether O’Neill feels he has a role to play for the Black Cats next season.
Bruce could also be interested in taking David Meyler on loan if the Irish midfielder is made available.
Meyler is desperate to make his mark at Sunderland and is already looking forward to the beginning of pre-season training with the rest of his team-mates tomorrow.
But he too was used only occasionally by O’Neill – featuring in just half-a-dozen games after O’Neill’s arrival in December – and could be offered out on loan to prove his fitness.
Meyler intends to show over the course of the close season that his 18-month long battle to overcome knee ligament injuries has finally been won and go on to play his part in Sunderland’s 2012-13 campaign.
But should O’Neill put him up for loan, Bruce would think seriously about going in for Meyler – though the Tigers boss would have to take into consideration the fact the 23-year-old has played only 22 league games in his three seasons in the Premier League.