Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keane Steps Up His Bid for Striker

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keane Steps Up His Bid for Striker

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Roy Keane is ready to step up his bid to bring Anthony Stokes to Sunderland after admitting the free-scoring forward is the player he wants to spearhead the club's New Year promotion push.

And the Black Cats boss is also looking to Scotland to strengthen his midfield, with Hibernian's Michael Stewart ( a former Old Trafford team-mate and one-time target of Mick McCarthy ( having emerged as his latest target.

Keane's squad will be stretched to the limits for this afternoon's Championship encounter with Luton and if the Premiership is to remain a realistic target, significant numbers must be added.

The Journal this week revealed that Stokes, the Arsenal striker who has made a major impact on the SPL during a remarkable loan spell at Falkirk, is a player attracting great interest from the Stadium of Light. As he confirmed that interest, Keane last night admitted that the talented teenager has made a big impression on him in recent weeks.

"I have seen him play twice in the last month against Celtic and Hearts, two of the better teams in Scotland, and he played very well," said Keane, who will face stiff competition as he attempts to secure the signature of the SPL's 13-goal leading marksman.

"We're interested in any quality player and he is that. He's a very good player, he has done very well and he's someone we are looking at, I have to say that.

He's a goalscorer and he's a threat. He makes good runs and is direct. He's a real good talent and he's young. He's a young hungry player." Falkirk are keen to extend their loan agreement with Arsenal for the remainder of the campaign, Celtic are also interested and several Championship clubs are determined to land the 18-year-old on a temporary basis. But the Black Cats could seek to strike a permanent deal with the Gunners, something Keane seemed to be hinting at last night when he said: "I think Arsenal will be looking for top money for him."

Whether Arsenal will be willing to sever their ties with such a talented young player remains to be seen. But Sunderland's interest has certainly muddied the water for Falkirk, who having this week hoped to announce that Stokes would stay for the remainder of the campaign, have not yet been given the go-ahead they craved. …

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