Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Cats Join Race for Brown's Signature

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Cats Join Race for Brown's Signature

Article excerpt


SUNDERLAND will rival Newcastle United for Wes Brown's signature in January - and could be helped by former player Danny Simpson in Rome tonight, writes STUART RAYNER.

Versatile Manchester United defender Brown has been a long-term Magpies target. But with the Black Cats in desperate need for defensive reinforcements and Premier League experience, Roy Keane may try to use his greater leverage in the New Year transfer market to lure his old team-mate to Wearside.

Despite expecting to lose four players to the African Cup of Nations, Sam Allardyce has been encouraged to concentrate on signing "development" players rather than firstteamers in January. That could play into the hands of Keane, whose hefty transfer budget could persuade the Red Devils to sacrifice one of their longestserving players sooner than they might prefer.

Sir Alex Ferguson indicated at the weekend he is resigned to losing the 28-year-old at the end of the season after Brown rejected a "final" offer to extend his contract, which expires in the summer.

With Gary Neville's future clouded by the ankle problems which have kept him out of first-team football since March, Ferguson will not want to lose Brown early. But with the defender able to officially talk to other clubs from January, the Old Trafford money men may feel it is better to cash in now than lose him on a free transfer.

Such is the budget available to Keane in January, the Irishman may be prepared to pay over the odds for someone who could greatly enhance the Black Cats' chances of staying in the lucrative Premier League.

Ferguson could be more receptive should Simpson continue his impressive form since ending a loan spell at the Stadium of Light last season.

The 20-year-old is expected to start against AS Roma in tonight's Champions League dead rubber. …

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