ANDREAS Weimann is expected to decide his Aston Villa future this week and Sunderland will be watching the situation with interest.
Paolo Di Canio was particularly impressed with the intelligence, athleticism and eye for goal of the 21-year-old Austrian, who scored in Villa’s 6-1 demolition of Sunderland last month.
And while Newcastle and Norwich are believed to be ready to step in if contract talks do not prove successful for a player who is in the last year of his contract at Villa Park, Sunderland are also monitoring the situation
Sunderland are in the market for top-class strikers at the right price and will keep a watching brief on a player who suits their new policy of buying quality, young players and bringing them on.
The Wearsiders have also been linked with an interest in Auxerre’s 19-times capped Cameroon midfielder Georges Mandjeck.
The 24-year-old, who started his career with Stuttgart in Germany, joined Auxerre last year after two years with Rennes.
Sunderland are at the start of a summer which is expected to bring huge changes in the playing squad and are set to release out-of-contract Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon next month while listening to offers for Ahmed Elmohamady and Ji Dong-won who spent last season on loan, as well as out-of-favour Phil Bardsley.
Di Canio – led by director of football, Milan-based Roberto di Fanti – is expected to look at the Italian markets this close season, as well as the cash-strapped Portuguese league, where bargains can be had.
But he is is also keen to sign young prospects in the English leagues if they can be sourced at the right price.
And that includes players like Weimann, who have already proven themselves able to adapt to the challenges faced in the Premier League.