Diafra Sakho favours a reunion with Sam Allardyce at Sunderland, despite interest from West Brom, Crystal Palace and Watford, the Echo understands.
Sunderland’s search for an opening transfer breakthrough of the summer continues after their proposed £3million move for Inter Milan full-back Davide Santon fell through last week.
The collapse of the Santon switch – after an issue between Sunderland and Inter saw the Black Cats withdraw their interest – leaves Allardyce with a continuing right-back headache, with Billy Jones the only option on the books at present.
However, Sunderland’s other big priority in the transfer market is to land a striker, with main target Sakho submitting a transfer request last week in order to hasten his exit from West Ham.
A move to Sunderland – who saw a bid rejected by the Hammers last month – is no foregone conclusion, with the trio of West Brom, Palace and Watford understood to have expressed an enquiry in the 26-year-old.
But Sakho IS thought to be keen on linking up with Allardyce again after the Sunderland manager brought him to the Premier League in a £3.5m move from Metz two years ago when he was in charge at West Ham.
West Ham have been prepared to sell Sakho, but they have put any move on ice until a replacement frontman arrives.
AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca is the latest striker to be linked with the Hammers, although Atletico Madrid are also interested in the £25m-rated Colombian.
However, Sakho – absent from West Ham’s pre-season trip to America because of illness – is not prepared for the uncertainty over the timescale for a replacement frontman and wants his future resolved, hence his formal request to leave the club.
Sunderland are thought to be prepared to spend big on a striker, particularly as the new television deal has significantly increased price tags so far this summer.
And although the Black Cats would face having to break their club record transfer fee to meet Sakho’s £15m price tag, Allardyce has been desperate to bring in a quality striker to either use alongside or instead of last season’s top scorer Jermain Defoe.