SUNDERLAND have been alerted to the availability of Steven N’Zonzi after Blackburn confirmed the French midfielder has submitted a transfer request.
The Black Cats are thought to have watched N’Zonzi in action for relegated Rovers last season, with Stoke, Aston Villa and West Ham also linked to the 23-year-old.
Blackburn are understood to have slapped a £10million price tag on N’Zonzi (right), which has predictably warded off any suitors, with Steve Kean’s side yet to receive an offer for the towering midfielder.
But N’Zonzi hopes to force’s Blackburn’s hand in lowering their asking price after submitting a transfer request in order to hasten his exit from Ewood Park.
Blackburn boss Kean admits N’Zonzi’s desire to leave the club was the reason behind his absence from the club’s pre-season trip to Austria and will listen to offers for the former France U21 international.
Kean said: “He’s asked for a transfer, hence why he never went to Austria. He doesn’t want to play for the club any longer. I had two meetings with his father and he wants to play elsewhere.
“We’ll be listening to offers but as it stands he remains under contract and we haven’t had any offers at all.”
Sunderland have also been interested in one of N’Zonzi’s Blackburn team-mate Junior Hoilett, even though the Canadian now looks likely to join either big-spending QPR or German side Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Hoilett’s contract at Ewood Park has expired and even though Rovers would be due compensation for the 22-year-old, Kean has admitted defeat in his attempts to keep the winger.
“Junior is out of contract. We made him an incredible offer but he’s decided to go and speak to other clubs,” added Kean.
Sunderland have so far made just one acquisition this summer after the arrival of Bosman signing Carlos Cuellar.
But Martin O’Neill is keen to make inroads into the transfer market when Sunderland return from their pre-season trip to South Korea next week.