SUNDERLAND are weighing up a bid for unsettled Besiktas targetman Hugo Almeida.
The 6ft 3ins Portuguese international has scored seven goals in 15 appearances for the Turkish side this season but is believed to have fallen out with the club over finances and would jump at a move to the Premier League.
Besiktas value him in the £3m range but ideally Sunderland would like to take him on loan – as would Everton, who have also been alerted to the fact the 27-year-old is interested in a move.
Black Cats boss Martin O’Neill is keen to strengthen the squad with one or two signings before the transfer window closes and bringing in a new striker is his biggest priority, especially with Nicklas Bendtner now sidelined for weeks with a facial injury.
The Sunderland boss is looking for a frontman with physical presence, experience and quality.
Almeida would fit the bill, as would Bolton’s Kevin Davies, who is out of contract this summer.
Davies would have no shortage of takers if he left the Reebok, but the striker is looking for a permanent deal rather than a loan for the rest of the season.
Sunderland have yet to show their hand but are considering options of offering Davies a permanent move and possibly offering Almeida a loan for the remainder of the current campaign, with the possibility of turning it into a permanent move in the summer.
With only a few days remaining of potential transfer window, O’Neill has been considering a huge variety of players, with no shortage of agents contacting the club to let him know what’s out there.
Valencia striker Aritz Aduriz has been mentioned in despatches and Sunderland have run the rule over out-of-contract Bosnian international Zlatan Muslimovic.
The 30-year-old former PAOK striker has trained at the Academy of Light this week, as has Peruvian defender Jesus Rabanal and Enoch Balotelli – teenage brother of Manchester City’s Mario.
But O’Neill was keen to stress through the Echo this week that fans should not read too much into the comings and goings of players at the Academy, as taking a look at a whole string of potential signings is set to become standard at the club during his time at the helm.
Key to any headway to be made in the transfer market will be whether owner Ellis Short has decided to spend to bring in potential signings.
The club had expected to do little business in the current window after a very active summer under Steve Bruce.
A loan signing or two was expected to be the height of any activity but it may be that the Black Cats will have to spend to ensure they get the man, or men, they want.