La Liga scouting trip from Sunderland

Sporting director Lee Congerton and chairman Ellis Short
Sporting director Lee Congerton and chairman Ellis Short
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SUNDERLAND have been keeping tabs on Spain’s La Liga, ahead of their summer recruitment drive.

It promises to be another busy close season at the Stadium of Light, regardless of which division the Black Cats are in next year.

Defenders Wes Brown and Anthony Reveillere are out of contract at the end of the campaign, while Ricky Alvarez, Sebastian Coates and Santiago Vergini are only at Sunderland on loan, albeit there is a permanent deal in place for the latter, as reported in yesterday’s Echo.

Sunderland also face possible decisions over the futures of Lee Cattermole, Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher, who are approaching the final 12 months of their contracts.

Ahead of the summer, Sunderland scouts were present at Levante’s La Liga encounter against Sevilla this week.

The Black Cats representative was not alone, with Premier League peers Newcastle, QPR, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City also present.

Sevilla have proved to be productive in their development of players over recent years, with Manchester City pair Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas, plus Real Madrid’s Ivan Rakitic, making their names there.

It’s not the first scouting mission to the Continent that Sunderland have made in recent weeks though.

As reported by the Echo, Sunderland have watched young Liverpool defender Tiago Ilori – currently on loan at French side Bordeaux – on a couple of occasions.