Scocco linked with Sunderland, but winger set to stay put

Paolo Di Canio.
Paolo Di Canio.
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IGNACIO SCOCCO is expected to remain in Argentina until the end of 2013, with only Champions League football likely to tempt the winger to return to Europe.

Sunderland were linked with Scocco this week after reports in the South American media of discussions between the Black Cats and the 28-year-old’s representatives.

Scocco has netted 30 goals in 40 appearances for Argentinian outfit Newell’s Old Boys this season after joining on loan from United Arab Emirates club Al-Ain, and he is not thought to be keen on returning to the Middle East.

But Scocco’s agent, Fabian Soldini, has poured cold water on Sunderland’s chances of landing the one-time Argentina international.

Soldini says Scocco’s loan is likely to be extended for at least another six months to allow him to feature in the Copa Libertadores – South America’s version of the Champions League.

And with the 2014 World Cup in mind, he adds that it would take a suitor playing Champions League football to bring the former AEK Athens wideman, known as “Nacho”, back to Europe.

“Sunderland are interested in Scocco, but they know Nacho’s claims,” said Soldini.

“Nacho thinks that if he has to leave Newell’s – where he is happy – he is going to do so to play in the Champions League.

“If there is not anything that is interesting, Ignacio will stay until the end of the year at the club (Newell’s).”

A move to Sunderland looked unlikely anyway, with Scocco’s contract at Al-Ain reportedly worth in excess of £60,000 a week – well in excess of anything the Black Cats would be willing to pay.

Financial factors also look the biggest barrier towards Sunderland making a move for Livorno frontman Paulinho.

Reports in Italy yesterday mooted Sunderland as possible suitors for the Brazilian, who has also been linked with Sampdoria, Fiorentina and Werder Bremen since helping Livorno to promotion to Serie A through the drama of the play-offs last week.

But a £6.5million price tag has been put on Paulinho’s head by Livorno and that is likely to scupper any chance of a move to the Stadium of Light.

Even Paulinho’s agent, Andrea Bagnoli, believes the 27-year-old needs to prove himself in Serie A before he moves abroad in a big-money deal.

“In my opinion, a player like him, before going abroad, must score 10 to 12 goals in the Italian league,” said Bagnoli.