Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ngog to Be Sunderland's First Summer Buy

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ngog to Be Sunderland's First Summer Buy

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

HAVING completed an overhaul of their backroom staff, Sunderland hope to make David Ngog their first signing of the summer next week.

The Black Cats have revamped their behind-the-scenes operation in light of last season's injury problems, but the widescale changes planned for the playing squad are yet to take place. Deals for South Korea striker Ji Dong-Won and Republic of Ireland's Keiren Westwood are in the pipeline, but neither is close to completion.

Having lost a second player in five months rated in the pounds 20m-plus bracket, Sunderland will realise the need to make a signing sooner rather than later. It could be Ngog, a potential makeweight in Jordan Henderson's move to Liverpool. Henderson's move to Anfield was completed as a separate deal before the European Under-21 Championships, kick-starting the transfer market much earlier than usual.

But Liverpool offered French striker Ngog in return, reducing the pounds 19.25m fee they will pay for the midfielder by around pounds 3m . Whether Sunderland take up that option will hinge on the personal talks due to take place next week, when Ngog returns from holiday. After a season which saw them fail to qualify for Europe, Liverpool have an overhaul of their own planned and Ngog is deemed surplus to requirements.

Manager Steve Bruce promised an investigation into the injury problems which dogged last season, focused on what could be done to prevent them. As a result, the job descriptions of some key backroom figures have changed.

There will now be a clear delineation between the work of those treating players, and those handling the recovery processes. An alarming number of Black Cats players suffered more than one longterm injury last term. Long-serving physiotherapist David Binningsley has been put in charge of nursing players back to full fitness after they have had their initial treatment. …

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