SUNDERLAND are considering offering Bolton Wanderers’ icon Kevin Davies a permanent deal in order to clinch his move to the Stadium of Light.
The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and his availability has attracted a string of interested clubs.
But none have offered the striker a permanent contract so far and Sunderland know that doing so would see them steal a march on their rivals.
Davies is one of the highest earners at the Reebok and manager Owen Coyle is known to favour a drive towards younger players on lesser wages.
But the forward’s wages are not sky-high by Premier League standards and well within Sunderland’s range.
A sticking point could be the type and length of the contract.
Sunderland’s plan was to look only at loan deals in the current window but that would leave them likely to be disappointed, with Davies more likely to stay at the Reebok and leave at the end of the season.
The hard-working, experienced forward originally wanted a two-year extension to his stay at the club he joined in 2003. Initially he was offered a one-year deal but Bolton have subsequently withdrawn that and Davies, who has found his first-team place no longer guaranteed, seems certain to leave.
Wolves, West Brom, Celtic and Rangers have all been linked with an interest, but in many ways Davies could be perfect for Sunderland right now.
He offers the squad something it currently lacks – physical power and presence up front, the ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play and above all vast experience.
Martin O’Neill refused to be drawn on any interest Sunderland might have.
“You couldn’t ask me to comment on other team’s players,” he said.
But he did confirm: “The loan market is something that ourselves and others are looking at but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of stuff happening.
“We had a passive interest in things but the Nicklas Bendtner situation – with him being out for weeks – means that it is now something that we really have to look at.
“We are left with several up and coming young strikers now and three or four tough months ahead of us.
“A lot of deals are dependent on what other clubs do. Teams are unlikely to want to sell too many good players in the window. But I have to look at bolstering the squad and see if we can do something if at all possible.
“It’s the right thing to do.
“Nicklas Bendtner or Stephane Sessegnon for example could have come through January fine and then got injured in the first week of February, and that’s what we’ve got to look to guard against.”
Davies’ best days are undoubtedly behind him but a permanent deal might still make sense. He’s a model pro and would undoubtedly be a positive influence on a youthful squad.
And with Sunderland bristling with young and energetic players, the veteran would not need to be relied on to run himself ragged in games as he has done for the past decade.
On top of that, with former boss Steve Bruce having looked to add goals from other areas in the summer, other than his front men, Sunderland would not need the Bolton captain to be prolific.
Midfielders Seb Larsson, Craig Gardner, David Vaughan, Jack Colback, James McClean and Kieran Richardson have all got on the scoresheet and would no doubt thrive on Davies’ ability to take the knocks up front and hold the ball upfield.