SUNDERLAND have turned down the chance to sign Tom Huddlestone, with the Spurs midfielder now heading to Stoke City.
Huddlestone was offered to several Premier League clubs, including Sunderland and Aston Villa, after new Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas said the England international could leave White Hart Lane.
But Sunderland rejected the proposal on the basis of being well-served for central midfielders and Huddlestone is now on the brink of joining Stoke on a season-long loan.
Likewise, Sunderland will not be pursuing a move for Manchester City frontman John Guidetti.
Despite reports earlier this week that Sunderland had made an offer to take Guidetti on loan, the Echo understands there is no move for the 20-year-old on the agenda.
Sunderland are thought to be one of 15 clubs to have made an inquiry for the Swedish international this summer. The Wearsiders had given consideration to Guidetti when their summer-long interest in Fletcher looked to have reached a dead end earlier this month.
With Wolves holding out for their £15million asking price for Fletcher, Guidetti was one of Sunderland’s contingency options and the Wearsiders had contemplated a loan despite City’s desire to offload the former Feyenoord loanee in a £7m deal.
But with Steven Fletcher set to follow fellow frontman Louis Saha to the Stadium of Light, any interest in Guidetti has now ended after Martin O’Neill addressed Sunderland’s need for fresh blood up front.
O’Neill’s attention will now turn to other areas of the side – principally the search for a specialist left-back and a player capable of adding more creativity to the Black Cats midfield.
A £10m offer for Man City’s Adam Johnson remains on the table and Sunderland’s hopes of signing the England international were boosted yesterday when Liverpool distanced themselves from any interest in the Easington-born winger.
Tottenham’s Jermaine Jenas and Clint Dempsey have been linked with the Black Cats too, although Liverpool remain favourites to land the latter.
O’Neill is also eager to boost his relatively thin options at full-back and has been repeatedly linked with Croatian international Ivan Strinic, Blackburn’s Martin Olsson, Tottenham’s Danny Rose and Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock – now training with the reserves at Villa Park after being told he can leave the club.
If O’Neill can land a left-back ahead of the August 31 transfer deadline, the Sunderland boss may be more receptive to the idea of Kieran Richardson leaving the Stadium of Light after the 27-year-old expressed a desire to end his five-year stint with the Black Cats.
Richardson has less than 12 months remaining on his contract and although Sunderland are yet to receive an offer, West Ham, Reading and QPR are all interested in the former Manchester United man.
He is not the only one whose future may depend on Sunderland’s transfer activity over the next eight days.
Former Black Cats boss Steve Bruce wants to take Ahmed Elmohamady and David Meyler on loan, although he is well aware that Sunderland need to boost their squad before O’Neill considers allowing the midfield duo to leave.
Rookie strikers Ji Dong-won, Connor Wickham and Ryan Noble could still be allowed to go out on loan after the transfer deadline, while there is interest in Fraizer Campbell in both the Premier League and Championship.