SUNDERLAND are today in talks with exciting South Korean striker Ji Dong-Won, and are also believed to have made a £9m bid for Ipswich star Connor Wickham.
At only 20 years old, a height of 6ft 1ins, and a growing reputation as a regular goalscorer, Dong-Won has all the attributes manager Steve Bruce is looking to add to his squad.
He has scored nine times in 32 appearances for K-League side Chunnam Dragons and six goals in 11 games for his country.
He would not only bring youth and energy to the Sunderland squad but a physical presence and, hopefully, goals.
Dong-Won scored for South Korea in their recent game against Ghana – a match in which Asamoah Gyan also found the back of the net – and is rated as one of the best young prospects in Asia.
There is still some way to go on finalising a deal, with the Black Cats negotiating on several fronts for new strikers. They have also been given permission to talk to Liverpool’s David Ngog over a possible £3m move.
Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli confirmed the 22-year-old could soon be on his way to the North East.
“Sunderland have had a strong interest in David, so we’ve agreed to let him speak to Sunderland about his future to see if he’s interested in going there,” he said.
“They’ve expressed a strong interest, so we’ll see what’s next for him.”
Bruce, meanwhile, has long been an admirer of Ipswich prodigy Wickham and though most in East Anglia believe that the 18-year-old striker is destined to leave for one of the Premier League giants, Sunderland would love to take him.
Bruce had a bid knocked back last year but will happily try again for a player he rates as the outstanding young player of his generation.
The Sunderland boss still has an interest in Spurs striker Peter Crouch. Reports today suggest that Tottenham boss might be willing to let Crouch move, if he can get Asamoah Gyan to move in the other direction.
Sunderland were interested in both Crouch and fellow Spurs forward Roman Pavlyuchenko but the Russian international will not move to the North East and Bruce will now focus his attention on the Londoners’ 6ft 7ins striker.
Bruce has a long-term interest in Crouch and tried to sign him for Sunderland when he first arrived as manager at the Stadium of Light two seasons ago. He did not succeed then but will hope to have better luck with the 30-year-old this summer.