Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Another Black Cat on Stoke's Shopping List; Higginbotham Targeted Football

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Another Black Cat on Stoke's Shopping List; Higginbotham Targeted Football

Article excerpt

STOKE City want to add Sunderland defender Danny Higginbotham to their impending signing of goalkeeper Marton Flop, but will wait until the resolution of the Younes Kaboul transfer saga before launching their bid, writes MARK DOUGLAS.

A week of brisk transfer business at the Stadium of Light concluded with Sunderland agreeing a fee, believed to be around pounds 2m, with Stoke for the transfer of the Hungarian goalkeeper, and the 24-year-old former Tottenham shot-stopper is expected to be officially confirmed as a Potters player within days.

There was no place for Flop in either of the squads for this weekend's Centenary tournament at Hartlepool while he discussed personal terms with Stoke, and his absence effectively signals the end of a Black Cats career which saw him make just six starting appearances.

And, after finally concluding a deal for Flop, the Premier League newcomers are expected to turn their attention to re-signing Higginbotham, who failed to nail down a starting role for the Black Cats in his first season on Wearside.

The former Manchester United trainee only joined Sunderland from Stoke a year ago in a deal worth pounds 3m but with manager Roy Keane in the market for defensive additions at both centre-back and left-back all summer, it appears that Higginbotham may be surplus to requirements.

He is one year into a four-year contract at the Stadium of Light, but Potters boss Tony Pulis believes a bid matching the amount that Sunderland paid for him last year would be enough to attract him back to the Britannia Stadium. But Higginbotham's departure is likely to rest on Sunderland's progress on the Kaboul front.

Pulis yesterday refused to talk about specific targets - including Flop - but he did confirm that the club is drawing closer to bringing in reinforcements.

"Things are hotting up and we have our ear firmly to the ground to try to get the best possible players for this club," he said from the club's training base in Austria. …

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