Sunderland face intense battle to land striker targets with Portsmouth, Brentford, Rangers and Celtic competing for signings

Sunderland face an intense battle to bolster their forward options with Freddie Ladapo and Lawrence Shankland attracting interest from a host of clubs.

By Richard Mennear
Saturday, 15 June, 2019, 06:30
Sunderland target Freddie Ladapo.

The Black Cats are keen on £500,000-rated Plymouth Argyle striker Ladapo, with sources on the south coast reporting Sunderland and League One rivals Portsmouth are close to agreeing a fee.

Ladapo, however, is also attracting interest from a host of other clubs including Championship outfit Brentford, long-term admirers, and sides from the Scottish Premiership.

Both Sunderland and Portsmouth had bids for the 26-year-old goalscorer rejected in January and are now looking to renew their interest.

Plymouth Live report a third club has also lodged a bid for the striker, who is under contract having signed a two-year deal last summer.

Ladapo scored 19 goals in 46 starts for relegated Plymouth.

Sunderland - also keen on prolific Ayr striker Shankland - have Will Grigg and Charlie Wyke as their main forwards but will be looking to bolster their striking options with both managing just five goals each last season.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

An ankle injury hampered Grigg following his £3million move from Wigan Athletic, while Wyke also suffered with injury.

Sunderland are yet to sign anyone, having only this week announced their retained list, but business is set to ramp up and Stewart Donald, in a post on social media, has promised supporters that new signings are ‘on the way’.

A Mark Campbell-led consortium is aiming to buy a majority shareholder stake in the club next week.

The battle for 23-year-old Shankland is just as fierce, with several clubs north and south of the border looking to sign the prolific free agent this summer.

Sunderland’s interest has been known for a long time and they face stiff competition from Rangers, Celtic, plus some of the big-hitters in League One including Portsmouth and Championship sides Swansea City, Hull and Nottingham Forest.

Shankland scored 34 goals in 41 appearances last season.