SPANISH outfit Seville fear Sunderland will outbid them for the services of ex-Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar.
The 31-year-old is out of contract at Villa Park after four years in the West Midlands and his agent is currently hawking his man around the continent, with Seville one of several clubs to have registered an interest.
The La Liga outfit are involved in a summer of squad rebuilding, particularly defensively and are interested in the Madrid-born Cuellar.
But the club’s owners are also looking to run a tight ship financially and Seville’s president has said they will not pay salaries in excess of one million euros per year.
That’s a wage which Cuellar would certainly consider but Seville fear that any bid in excess of that from Sunderland – and they are wages well within the reach of the Black Cats – would see the defender heading to the Stadium of Light.
Seville see Cuellar and defensive-minded midfielder Thomas Sivok of Turkish side Besiktas as potentially key acquisitions this summer but are concerned Sunderland might snatch the former and Fulham the latter.
Sunderland have yet to hold talks with the Spaniard, who was signed by O’Neill in 2008 for almost £8m, but the player’s agent is prepared to play a waiting game hoping the Black Cats make an approach.
And while Seville are among the bigger payers in La Liga, they are honest about their inability to compete with the wages offered by ambitious clubs from the English Premier League.
Spartak Moscow’s Aiden McGeady continues to be linked with a move to Sunderland in the Irish media.
The winger has already made it clear that he will not sign another contract with the Russian club and he’s the sort of player who would appeal to Sunderland because of his ability to play on either wing – offering competition for James McClean on the left, or a different option on the right.
Like many of his international team-mates, McGeady had a disappointing Euro 2012 but that won’t put off Martin O’Neill if he genuinely wants the player.
The Sunderland boss told the Echo going into the close-season that the last thing he assesses when buying a player is how they might have performed in a major tournament.
“I’ve seen it before,” he said. “Some players can have fantastic finals, get a big-money move and then completely fail to turn it on for their new club – you’ve got to bear in mind that any player can have a purple patch of form over a short tournament.”