GUS Poyet has continued his interest in exciting Argentinian midfielder Ever Banega and has not given up hope of signing a player who first came across Sunderland’s radar in the January transfer window.
The Black Cats were linked with the Valencia playmaker at the start of the year when Poyet was exploring a number of South American options which ended with Santiago Vergini, Nacho Scocco and Oscar Ustari arriving at the Stadium of Light.
Privately, Poyet felt at the time there was little chance of Sunderland landing a player of Banega’s quality and was simply flattered that he had been linked with the Black Cats.
But a link had been established and with Banega likely to leave Valencia this summer, Sunderland have been included among the list of potential destinations for the player.
Banega eventually left Valencia in January for a loan spell at Newell’s Old Boys in his home country and it seems certain he will be on the move again in the next few months.
The 25-year-old is set to enter the final year of his contract at Valencia, and the La Liga side would rather offload him now rather than risk losing for nothing on a Bosman next year, a player they paid £16m for in 2008.
Poyet has a box seat to check on the player - who has been included in Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella’s World Cup squad - as part of his punditry role for ITV in Brazil this summer.
Among the games the broadcaster will be screening are Argentina’s clashes against Iran in Belo Horizonte on June 21, and against Nigeria in Porto Alegre four days later.
It would be a huge coup if Sunderland could land a player of Banega’s stature, especially given that two other Premier League clubs - rumoured to be Manchester United and Everton - are also believed to have registered an interest.
Banega’s agent Jonathan Hope confirmed earlier this week that his client is wanted by three Premier League clubs, with Sunderland believed to be among the trio to have made contact with the player’s camp.
“We have had a lot of interest in the Argentine international,” said Hope.
“I confirm that I am speaking personally with three clubs who have expressed their intention to sign the player.
“He is a class player and he is only 25 years old.”