Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anton Lined Up for Italian Job

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anton Lined Up for Italian Job

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

FIORENTINA have emerged as unlikely suitors for Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand. Ferdinand has been made available by the Black Cats after being pushed down the pecking order by the arrival of Titus Bramble and the imminent loan capture of John Mensah.

And while his price tag means that a permanent exit to a Premier League side looks unlikely, sources close to Ferdinand have revealed that the Serie A side are interested in signing the former England Under-21 man.

Black Cats boss Steve Bruce would certainly not stand in the way of a move abroad for Ferdinand, who was in and out of the side last year and commands a substantial weekly wage.

Although Ferdinand has been praised for his attitude and determination since returning from the summer break, Bruce appears unconvinced by him as a centreback and has signed two right-backs - blocking an alternative posting for the former West Ham man.

Generally Ferdinand has been a reliable figure at Sunderland since his pounds 6million move in 2008, but Bruce's signing of Bramble was an indication that the manager is looking elsewhere for a partner for Michael Turner.

The Sunderland boss needs to clear some of his big earners from the wage bill before making any further signings - something he is struggling to do with most top-flight clubs tightening their belts.

The Black Cats have so far failed to find clubs for the likes of David Healy, Teemu Taino and George McCartney, all deemed surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light.

And Bruce hopes that his recruitment drive is not finished yet.

French sports 'paper l'[ETH]quipe claimed Sunderland had made an enquiry about Rennes defender Rod Fanni before he opted for Atltico Madrid while Bruce still has an interest in Wigan's former Newcastle man Charles N'Zogbia.

N'Zogbia claimed yesterday that the Latics would not stand in his way if a bigger club launches a bid for him - perhaps the first step towards securing a move away from Wigan after a fine season last year.

"When I came here, I was in a period where I wanted to relaunch myself," N'Zogbia said. …

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