SUNDERLAND target Junior Hoilett looks set to join free-spending Queens Park Rangers over the next few days – forcing a rethink of the Black Cats’ transfer strategy.
The Blackburn Rovers winger was high on Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill’s summer wish list, with the 22-year-old’s pace and invention capable of transforming the Black Cats’ attacking options.
But the out-of-contract Canadian (pictured), the shining star of Rovers’ relegation season, is hot property and there have been a host of other suitors for his signature.
As well as interest from Sunderland, Newcastle United and Everton, German side Borussia Monchengladbach made a determined move to take him to the Bundesliga and were confident they had got their man before being put off by wage demands of around £50,000 a week.
That’s a figure which would have been a sticking point for both the North East clubs. Such a weekly wage would be well in excess of anything anyone at Sunderland is on, but well within the range of Queens Park Rangers, who are backing manager Mark Hughes’ rebuilding plans with vast amounts of cash.
The Londoners signalled their ambitions this week with the signing of Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung, and it seems they will now match the demands of Hoilett’s representatives. Rangers seem prepared to consider the compensation figure of £4m that Rovers are insisting on.
Sunderland could now increase their interest in Spartak Moscow winger Aiden McGeady.
The 26-year-old Republic of Ireland international – who worked previously under O’Neill at Celtic – has made it clear he does not plan to sign a new contract with the Russian club. And while he still has two years remaining on his current contract, Spartak may well be ready to cut a deal.
At one stage it was thought that Sunderland could be looking to recruit both Hoilett and McGeady but it is more likely a case one or the other.
The Black Cats, who released nine players at the end of last season and have also allowed George McCartney and Asamoah Gyan to leave too, have made one new signing so far – out-of-contract Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar.
New faces will follow, but not immediately. The club is in the market for a specialist left-back although the top priority remains improving Sunderland’s attacking options.