Sunderland may have to smash their club record transfer fee to land Swansea City winger Andre Ayew – with the Welsh club set to play hardball over their star man.
Swans boss Francesco Guidolin insists he doesn’t want 12-goal top scorer Ayew to leave south Wales as he plans to transform him into an out-and-out striker.
But the Echo understands Ayew would be allowed to leave south Wales this summer if they receive a suitable offer.
It is understood Swans chairman Huw Jenkins would listen to offers in excess of £15million for Ayew, with prices set to rocket this summer as a result of the new bumper television deal.
Should Sunderland agree to cough up the figure, it would smash the £13million fee shelled out for Ayew’s fellow Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan from Rennes back in 2010.
Sunderland made a formal bid for Ayew during the last transfer window, but it was rejected by Swansea who were unwilling to offload their top scorer to one of their relegation rivals.
A winger remains one of Allardyce’s summer priorities and Swans top scorer Ayew would fit the bill, although the lack of European football will go against the Wearsiders with ambitious Ayew keen to play at the highest level.
Allardyce and the club’s board may also feel there is better value on the Continent, with the French league proving a positive hunting ground for Allardyce in January with the value for money signings of Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri.
If Swansea agree to sell Ayew – who wants to stay in England – Sunderland would face a fierce battle to secure his services with several other Premier League clubs tracking him.
Liverpool and West Ham United are long-time admirers, while big-hitters Chelsea and Arsenal are the latest clubs to be linked in recent days.
Ayew, who favours playing out wide, confirmed earlier this week that clubs are keen on prising him away this summer.
“I hope he stays. I don’t know, but we have discovered other good characteristics with him,” said Guidolin.
“He says he is not a striker and he is a midfielder but in my opinion he is a striker. He is also a good false nine.
“He is a big player, but his attitude is good.
“He is an important player, but he is quiet, a good guy.”
Sunderland have also been linked with a move for Ayew’s teammate, striker Bafetimbi Gomis.
Meanwhile, Watford have joined the race to sign Sunderland winger Emanuele Giaccherini, who is set to leave the Stadium of Light this summer.
The 31-year-old wideman spent the entire 2015-16 season on loan at Serie A side Bologna, while Fiorentina and Lazio are also keen to sign him.