John Guidetti: Wearside bound?
It is claimed that a deal has been reached to sign the young Swedish forward - dubbed 'the new Ibrahimovic' - initially on loan with an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the campaign.
According to the report, Sunderland have beaten Serie A side Lazio to the punch and will pay €2m (around £1.5m) for the loan and are likely to negotiate a future fee of €8.5m (around £6.5m) if they choose to conclude a full transfer next year.
As ever, it can be difficult to assess the source. However, the local press, specifically The Journal's Mark Douglas who, for our money, is one of the top north east football journalists, reported Sunderland's interest Guidetti as far back as May, and yesterday reiterated that Martin O'Neill was 'especially interested' in the player.
Coming off the back of Martin O'Neill's recent admission that there was quite a lot going on behind the scenes on the transfer front right now, you can't help but feel this is all starting to fall neatly into place. I suppose time will tell.
Guidetti's signature would certainly represent a real coup for Sunderland. Manchester City fought off some real pedigree opposition to sign him as a 16-year-old and, although he has found his path blocked at the Etihad by some real top players, he cemented his reputation as a player of big promise with a prolific loan-spell at Feyenoord last season.
By agreeing a 'try before you buy' deal to effectively defer payment for a year, it would also see more money left in the pot to strengthen other positions that need to be addressed this summer.
Lets hope this one has some legs.