SUNDERLAND’S pursuit of left-back Lucas Orban has been confirmed, although the Black Cats may have to wait until the conclusion of the Argentine league to land the defender.
Reports in the South American media over the weekend suggested Sunderland had seen a bid rejected by Argentinian outfit Club Atletico Tigre for Orban and were considering improving their offer for the 24-year-old.
Orban’s European-based agent, Filippo Colasanto, has confirmed that he has held discussions with Sunderland consultant and director of football-elect Roberto De Fanti about the former River Plate full-back, as the Black Cats continue their search for cost-effective overseas recruits.
But while Colasanto admits the potential move is a “strong possibility”, he expects Orban to wait until Tigre’s league campaign comes to a conclusion on June 23, before making a decision on his future.
“Sunderland are interested in signing the player,” Colasanto told the Echo.
“I have spoken with the new director, De Fanti. He called me to get some information about the Orban situation to start negotiations.
“I know that Sunderland made an approach to Tigre saying that they want to sign him and they are in a position to come to an agreement.
“We know it is a strong possibility to go and play in England. I am waiting on the decision of the player.
“There are two or three matches to go (in the Argentine league) and at the moment, he wants to wait until the end of the season to make a decision.”
The 6ft 1in Orban has attracted interest throughout Europe and South America.
But the prospect of plying his trade in the Premier League is an enticing one, particularly as it offers a grand stage ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
“There are three or four other clubs interested in him,” added Colasanto.
“He has had some offers from Brazil, two or three from Spain and one from France.
“But of course, he would be interested in going to the Premier League. Every player that has that opportunity is.
“And another factor is it would be the season before the World Cup.
“It could be an opportunity for him to go and play in a big league, and the Premier League is the best in the world.
“Lucas Orban is a very good player for the type who are successful in England too.
“He has a good heart, is tall and powerful and is very good at heading.”
Sunderland have also been linked with Orban’s fellow countryman, Ignacio Scocco, a winger on loan at Argentine outfit Newell’s Old Boys from United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain – the club of former Black Cats frontman Asamoah Gyan.
But while Scocco is reportedly not keen to return to Al-Ain, the 28-year-old would have to take a huge pay-cut to move to the Stadium of Light.
Scocco, who has netted an impressive 27 goals in 36 games this season, is thought to earn around £60,000 a week at Al-Ain, which is far in excess of anything Sunderland are willing to pay.