NAPOLI midfielder Walter Gargano is the latest candidate to be mooted as the solution to Paolo Di Canio’s search for a creative playmaker.
As the Echo revealed last month, Di Canio is eager to add a midfield linchpin, as well as two full-backs, to Sunderland’s squad before the transfer window slams shut four weeks today.
But Sunderland have hit dead ends in their pursuit of a creative player so far this summer after being unable to agree terms over moves for Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone and Inter Milan’s Alfred Duncan.
Reports in Italy have suggested Sunderland have expressed an interest in Uruguay international Gargano, with the midfielder left out of the Napoli squad for the weekend’s Emirates Cup.
The 29-year-old spent last season on loan at Inter Milan, yet a permanent move to the San Siro didn’t materialise in the summer and he returned to Napoli, where former Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez has taken charge.
Inter Milan’s Serbian international Zdravko Kuzmanovic continues to be linked with Sunderland too, despite sources close to the 25-year-old playing down the chances of him moving to the Stadium of Light.
Hull City are also on the look-out for fresh recruits in midfield, with Jack Colback reported as a target for the newly-promoted Tigers over the weekend.
Colback’s situation on Wearside remains unresolved after rejecting a new contract with the Black Cats, and, as the Echo reported last week, head coach Di Canio wants the 23-year-old to make a decision on his future.
Hull’s former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has harboured a genuine interest in Colback ever since the Tynesider’s contract situation became public last month, with only 12 months to run on his current deal.
Bruce wants two new midfielders to boost Hull’s squad for their return to the Premier League.
But Sunderland are not looking to part company with Colback and remain hopeful that he will agree to improved terms at the Stadium of Light.