Sunderland planning summer recruitment drive

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SUNDERLAND are keeping tabs on Liverpool centre-half Tiago Ilori, ahead of their summer defensive overhaul.

This week’s dismissal of Gus Poyet will not have a significant bearing on Sunderland’s recruitment plans for the end of the season, with sporting director Lee Congerton continuing to draw up a list of potential signings.

This week’s dismissal of Gus Poyet will not have a bearing on recruitment

Strengthening the defence will be Sunderland’s priority, with 35-year-olds Wes Brown and Anthony Reveillere both out of contract, while the loan spells of Sebastian Coates and Santiago Vergini come to a conclusion.

Celtic centre-half Virgil van Dijk continues to be tracked by Sunderland, albeit Poyet was a long-term admirer of the Dutchman too.

But the Black Cats are also looking at options on the continent and had scouts in France last weekend to watch Liverpool’s Ilori, currently on a season-long loan at Bordeaux.

Portugese Under-21 international Ilori played the full 90 minutes as Bordeaux recorded an impressive 3-2 victory over Paris St Germain.

The 22-year-old is yet to make an appearance for Liverpool’s first-team after moving to Anfield from Sporting Lisbon for £7million in the summer of 2013.

Since signing, London-born Ilori has spent the past two seasons on loan – first at La Liga outfit Granada and then moving to Bordeaux last summer.

However, Sunderland are not alone in admiring Ilori, with Real Sociedad boss David Moyes also watching last weekend’s game.

The Black Cats have scouted Genk centre-half Kara Mbodji over recent weeks too.

Senegal international Mbodji has been interesting Newcastle and West Ham, who have both been linked with a £5m move for the 25-year-old.

Meanwhile, speculation has linked Sunderland with a season-long loan move for Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu, if they remain in the Premier League.

Deulofeu impressed during a loan stint at Everton last season and was expected to be involved in the first-team picture at Barcelona this time around.

But the 21-year-old was sent on loan to fellow La Liga outfit Seville last August and could again be available on loan next summer.