FC Utrecht confirm transfer talks over Sunderland and Norwich target

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce
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FC Utrecht have confirmed they have received concrete enquiries for Sunderland target Sebastien Haller.

Sunderland were on the trail of 6ft 2in centre-forward Haller during the summer, before eventually deciding that Utrecht’s £6million asking price was too hefty for a 21-year-old, without any Premier League experience.

But Sunderland watched Haller in action in last weekend’s win over Ajax, while reports on the Continent have suggested that Norwich have bid £7m for the French Under-21 frontman.

Utrecht general manager, Wilco van Schaik, admits they are in discussions with several overseas clubs over Haller, although it is not a given that he will leave the Dutch outfit in the January transfer window.

“There are indeed clubs from abroad who have officially enquired for Sebsatien Haller, I can be honest about that,” van Schaik told the Dutch press.

“In addition to FC Utrecht, he has also impressed in recent internationals, so we expected it. Sometimes that’s unstoppable.

“In the summer, there was a lot of interest, but we turned the bids down because they did not meet our expectations in terms of what we had in mind.

“Now we are having talks, which says a lot, I think.

“Nothing needs to happen right now, we’re in the middle of the season.

“But at FC Utrecht, we are not so arrogant to say ‘never’. There comes a time for a club when you cannot resist.”

Haller initially joined Utrecht on loan 18 months ago, before converting that into a permanent switch from French side Auxerre.

But after failing to make a competitive appearance at Auxerre, he has since netted 21 goals in 29 starts in the Dutch league.

“For now I’m really focused on Utrecht and I want to repay the confidence they placed in me,” he said earlier this week.

“On future opportunities, we will discuss that with the club and the people concerned.”