Sunderland close on Rodriguez deal

Cristian Rodriguez
Cristian Rodriguez
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SUNDERLAND appear to be edging closer to a deal for Atletico Madrid’s Cristian Rodriguez after his agent reportedly held talks with the Black Cats over the weekend.

The Echo reported last week how Gus Poyet was keen for Sunderland to make a concrete move for Uruguay midfielder Rodriguez, who wants to leave La Liga champions Atletico this summer after being restricted to a bit-part role in Spain.

Sunderland are making progress, with reports in Spain indicating that Rodriguez’s agent, Paco Casal, has been involved in discussions with the Black Cats, in London.

However, Rodriguez’s arrival is understood to be far from imminent, with more work needed to be done on the potential move.

If Sunderland can make another breakthrough in the transfer market though – after Friday’s capture of left-back Patrick van Aanholt – it would be a major boost for head coach Poyet, who saw his midfield options depleted at the end of last season with the departures of Jack Colback, Craig Gardner and Ki Sung-Yueng.

Sunderland have signed Jordi Gomez on a free transfer with Wigan, but Poyet believes fellow countryman Rodriguez would be a natural fit for the Premier League.

“He’s a player that I admire a lot because he’s got power, desire and experience playing with the top teams,” Poyet said last week.

“He wants to play football, he’s desperate to be playing week in, week out.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland’s pursuit of Fabio Borini continues to drag on, with the striker back on Merseyside after leaving Liverpool’s pre-season tour in the USA.

Borini tweeted that he was returning to the UK for treatment on the shoulder injury he suffered in Liverpool’s friendly against Roma last week.

Yet Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who yesterday saw a move for ex-Newcastle frontman Loic Remy fall through, had suggested Borini would only be out for a matter of days with the injury.

Borini’s Liverpool team-mate Adam Lallana has remained in the US, despite being ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury.