Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defender Mathijsen Interests Cats Boss

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defender Mathijsen Interests Cats Boss

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER

SUNDERLAND will cast their net more widely than at any time under Roy Keane's management this summer with Joris Mathijsen emerging as the latest Euro 2008 player on their shopping list, writes STUART RAYNER.

Chairman Niall Quinn insisted yesterday his club will not sign Irishmen for the sake of it, and having strengthened their European scouting network during the past year, the Black Cats intend to capitalise this summer.

In the past they have almost exclusively relied on British and Irish-based players, with Swedish striker Rade Prica, French defender Jean-Yves M'voto and Keane's former Manchester United team-mate Dwight Yorke the only players to have joined from outside those countries since his appointment.

But as well as opening talks with Spanish centre-forward Daniel Guiza, Sunderland are also considering a bid for Holland defender Mathijsen as they search for a new partner for Nyron Nosworthy.

As with Guiza, the Wearsiders are not the only English club tracking a player who was a key figure in his country's impressive but disappointingly short-lived European Championship campaign. Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers have also been linked with the 28-year-old, who plays for German side SV Hamburg.

The left-sided central defender started every one of Holland's games in Austria and Switzerland with the exception of the dead rubber against Romania, where Marco van Basten fielded a secondstring side. He also played in 11 of his country's qualifiers for the tournament, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Luxembourg. In all Mathijsen has 29 caps and has scored twice.

Sunderland need a new central defender because their first choice in that position, Jonny Evans, has returned to Manchester United at the end of his loan spell. Keane would love to make the star a permanent fixture but freely admits he is unlikely to get his wish because of the Red Devils' reluctance to sell the player.

Nosworthy apart, the other senior central defenders at the Stadium of Light failed to convince last season.

Paul McShane and Danny Higginbotham were at times exposed as error-prone, Russell Anderson seems set to rejoin Championship side Plymouth Argyle, where he spent the second half of last season on loan, and although Danny Collins prefers to play in the centre, he was one of the club's best performers of the previous term playing at left-back. …

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