Sunderland hot on Patrick Helmes

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NIALL Quinn will do all he can to over the next 24 hours to persuade Patrick Helmes that his future lies at Sunderland.

The Sunderland chairman will need to use all of his famous persuasive powers to overcome the Wolfsburg striker’s reluctance to swap the Bundesliga for the Premier League.

But, on the positive side, Sunderland and Wolfsburg have all but agreed the deal which would see the German international become Steve Bruce’s 11th signing of the current transfer window and the only sticking point now is the not inconsiderable one of whether the player himself decides to come.

The Black Cats have not put all their eggs in one basket – Sunderland have looked at Manchester City’s Craig Bellamy and Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner, both on loan and also Peter Crouch as a possible permanent signing.

There are other players, too, that the club are considering with the deadline to the closure of the transfer window barely 24 hours away.

Chances of signing either Bellamy or Bendtner faded over the weekend.

Bellamy has interested Liverpool, but his huge wages are expected to see Sunderland cool their interest; the prospect of Bendtner being allowed to go out on loan was always uncertain and now seems even less likely after the Gunners’ 8-2 drubbing by Manchester United.

Crouch remains on the radar despite claims that the player and his partner, model Abbey Clancy, don’t fancy a move to the North East.

Crouch has been strongly linked with Stoke City and they remain in the driving seat if Tottenham decide to offload the England striker. Sunderland, though, reserve the right to look at topping Stoke’s offer if they finally decide that the giant striker is their man.

But, for the moment, Helmes is the primary target.

Wolfsburg have already lined up the 27-year-old’s potential replacement with the signing of Swedish Under-21 international Rasmus Jonsson from Helsingborg and are prepared to offload a player who was only signed in January this year for £7m as a replacement for Edin Dzeko, who joined Manchester City.

Helmes has scored three goals in 11 games for Wolfsburg, but his record for three previous German clubs – Siegen, Cologne and Bayer Leverkusen – equates almost exactly to a goal every other game and it is that ratio which appeals to Sunderland manager Steve Bruce as he looks to up his firepower.

The current situation has almost identical echoes of the situation Sunderland found themselves in last season when Bruce identified Schalke defender Heiko Westermann as his chief target.

The club was prepared to sell the German international to Sunderland and had lined up a replacement for the move to go ahead, only for Westermann to decide he did not want to leave Germany and move to the North East. He was subsequently sold to Bundesliga rivals Hamburg in the same window.

Quinn will hope lightning doesn’t strike twice and that he has wasted his time pursuing Helmes. For that reason he has been prepared to go the extra mile in the hope that this time he’ll get his man.