SUNDERLAND will look to bring a resolution to their lengthy pursuit of former loanee Marcos Alonso this week.
The Black Cats have been in talks with Italian outfit Fiorentina throughout the summer over signing Alonso permanently after the left-back’s successful loan spell at the Stadium of Light last season.
Reports over the weekend – which have not been confirmed by either Sunderland or Fiorentina – suggested that the Wearsiders had made a formal bid for Alonso, who has been training at the Viola’s pre-season camp in northern Italy for the past week.
There were subsequent indications in Italy last night that Sunderland centre-back Modibo Diakite, who went the opposite way to Alonso in January by joining Fiorentina on loan, was still involved in the proposed deal, despite his agent indicating last week that a part exchange looked unlikely.
Sunderland would have to pay a fee in addition to the player swap, with Fiorentina giving Alonso a higher valuation than Diakite.
But it would be a major boost for Sunderland if they were able to involve Diakite in the deal, with the French centre-half not part of Gus Poyet’s plans and still boasting another two years to run on a lucrative contract at the Stadium of Light after being signed on a Bosman deal by ex-director of football Roberto De Fanti last summer.
It has been suggested that there will be further talks between the two clubs over the next few days in a bid to find an outcome which suits both parties.
Certainly, the two players are each eager to make their loans permanent.
Alonso privately indicated that he was keen to remain at Sunderland after shining in his 20 appearances for the club last season after being limited to a bit-part role at Fiorentina, following his move from Bolton 12 months ago.
Likewise, Diakite wants to return to Serie A after making just two Premier League appearances under Poyet.
Sunderland have also been linked with Austrian international left-back Christian Fuchs, but Alonso has always been the club’s first-choice to fill that problem position this summer. The Black Cats have not got another first-team left-back on the club’s books, with Under-21 defender David Ferguson working in that position with Poyet’s men during the first week of pre-season training.