Sunderland keeping close eye on League Two hot-shot, but are yet to hold transfer talks

Oxford United's Kemar Roofe.
Oxford United's Kemar Roofe.
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Sunderland scouts have made several checks on Oxford United’s Kemar Roofe, but the Black Cats are yet to make an approach for the highly-coveted attacking midfielder.

Roofe’s 25 goal haul for League Two Oxford this season has attracted interest from a string of Premier League and Championship clubs, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle among those who have watched the 23-year-old in action.

Sunderland were the latest club to be linked with Roofe last week and it is understood that the Black Cats have indeed scouted the ex-West Brom trainee.

However, there is not thought to have been any contact between Sunderland and Oxford at this stage for a player who impressed in January’s FA Cup third round upset against Swansea.

Oxford insisted that Roofe was not for sale in the January transfer window after speculation that Newcastle were ready to make a move.

But if Oxford receive a big-money bid this summer, then they will find it difficult to resist, even if they seal promotion to League One.

Sunderland’s possible relegation would not necessarily end their interest in Roofe either, with several Championship clubs – including Hull and Nottingham Forest – seeing him as a realistic target.

Despite the uncertainty over their fate in the Premier League, Sunderland have been keeping tabs on several potential transfer targets both domestically and in Europe over recent months.

However, as reported by the Echo last week, Sunderland have put all plans over a concrete list of targets on hold until they know which division they are playing in next season.

“We can only talk about pencilling in of pre-season – where we’re going, where we’ll be training, what teams we’re going to play, when we’ll start back,” said Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce.

“That’s it. The rest of it is wait and see where we are.”