Sunderland WILL push ahead with a permanent move for Sebastian Coates after the Liverpool defender’s contribution to the Black Cats’ survival.
Coates looked certain to return to Anfield this summer at the conclusion of his season-long loan spell at the Stadium of Light after making just four Premier League appearances prior to the appointment of Dick Advocaat.
Sunderland are hopeful that Coates will be one of the two centre-halves that the Black Cats are looking to sign this summer
But Coates shone during the final six games of the campaign after being given his chance by Advocaat and that has persuaded Sunderland to make a move to keep the centre-half at the Stadium of Light.
Liverpool are looking to offload Coates - who only has a year remaining on his contract at Anfield - for a fraction of the £7million they splashed out in the summer of 2011.
The main stumbling block to any deal is Coates’ hefty salary at Liverpool, with Sunderland only covering a portion of his wages this season.
But with Coates enjoying his first taste of regular Premier League football at Sunderland, the Uruguayan admitted last week that he would be open to remaining on Wearside.
Coates’ form over the last half-dozen games has not gone unnoticed either, with Leicester scouts watching the 24-year-old produce an immense display in the stalemate at Arsenal, which guaranteed Sunderland’s top flight survival.
But Sunderland are hopeful that Coates will be one of the two centre-halves that the Black Cats are looking to sign this summer.
As reported on Saturday, veteran defender Wes Brown is expected to part ties with the club at the end of this month when his Sunderland contract expires.
Sunderland are aiming to sign a replacement for Brown capable of being a first-team regular, particularly with captain John O’Shea turning 34.
The Black Cats have been pursuing Celtic centre-half Virgil van Dijk for the past 12 months and he remains one of the main summer targets.
Celtic have slapped a £10million asking price on van Dijk, even though they are likely to accept a lower figure for a player untested in the Premier League.
But Sunderland have continued to track van Dijk throughout this season after making an approach to Celtic 12 months ago, and are ready to spend a sizeable chunk of their summer budget on the 23-year-old, who is also a target for Southampton, Everton and Arsenal.