Sunderland target Muntari submits transfer request

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SUNDERLAND target Sulley Muntari hopes putting in a transfer request will speed his switch from the San Siro to the Stadium of Light.

Inter’s technical director Marco Branca confirmed over the weekend the fact that the Ghana midfielder has officially asked to leave the club

And now the Wearsiders will look to press home their interest with a loan deal until the end of the season and an option to buy in the summer.

Branca said: “Sulley has made himself available to leave as long as a team wants him and is interested in him.

“He’s a lad who is close to us, he’s a good person even though sometimes he expresses opinions typical of someone who wants to play.”

Muntari remains highly thought of at Inter, even though he has drifted out of the first-team picture at the Italian giants.

The 26-year-old was virtually an automatic first choice under former manager Jose Mourinho in his first season at Inter but he lost his place in the team last season and has been involved even less in the current one.

The former Portsmouth player has made just 12 appearances in all competitions, mostly as a substitute and is keen to relaunch his career away from Italy.

Sunderland have offered him that route, and Muntari’s international team-mate Asamoah Gyan has urged him to seize the opportunity.

The Black Cats’ record signing said: “Sulley would give us a big boost and he would be loved by the fans if he comes here.

“The fans like to see players who fight for the team and he certainly does that.

“He is a quality footballer and he plays the game a little like Lee Cattermole.

“He wins the ball and he can pass it anywhere on the pitch. He has a great left foot and he can shoot from distance.

“I’ve known him for a long time and I would be very happy if he does join us. I would love to play in the same club side as him.”

Sunderland, meanwhile, will also hope to push through a move for Paris St Germain’s Stephane Sessegnon.

The Benin international has had hours of talks with the PSG board hoping to be given permission to leave on loan to Wearside.

But so far the French club are refusing to sanction a loan move and appear prepared to continue fining a player who is refusing to train or play for them, ahead of selling him on permanently in the summer.

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn will be hoping to break the deadlock on both deals in the next few days as the club presses ahead with the two principle targets revealed by the Echo last week.

The Echo also warned that Newcastle United’s move for Birmingham City’s Seb Larsson was unlikely to come off, which has been the case. Sunderland will wait until the summer before considering an approach for the deadball specialist, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

But Aston Villa are also interested in the Swede and Larsson could end up at Villa Park this month if manager Gerrard Houllier is prepared to meet the player’s wage demands.

Reports that Manchester United striker Michael Owen was close to a move to Sunderland are not true.

Steve Bruce was astonished by the claims and said they were nonsense.