Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Is Close to Deal for Helmes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Is Close to Deal for Helmes

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER

SUNDERLAND will attempt to push through the signing of Wolfsburg striker Patrick Helmes in the last 48 hours of transfer activity for 2011, writes STUART RAYNER.

With the window closing at 11pm tomorrow, the Black Cats still have a number of irons in the fire.

Manager Steve Bruce is still hoping to sign two strikers and a left-winger, but German international Helmes has emerged as his priority.

Wolfsburg paved the way by signing Rasmus Jonsson as a replacement for Helmes, who was himself a replacement for Edin Dzeko. Bruce would have loved to bring Peter Crouch from Tottenham Hotspur but, having failed to pull a deal off last summer, history seems certain to repeat itself.

Crouch and his wife, model Abbey Clancy, were lukewarm about joining Sunderland 12 months ago and the Black Cats are privately resigned to the England international signing for Stoke City, who have also targeted his clubmate at white Hart Lane, Wilson Palacios. Bruce started the new season content with a stable of strikers which consisted of Asamoah Gyan, Stphane Sessgnon, Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-Won.

All but Gyan have been signed in 2011. The Ghanaian came last August for a club record fee of pounds 13m.

However, a start to the season which has seen Sunderland score just once in four games - midfielder Sebastian Larsson netting at Liverpool on the opening day - has prompted an urgent rethink by the Wearsiders.

Bruce is now looking to bring in two forward reinforcements, one on loan.

"We need a bit extra up front," he admitted after Saturday's 0-0 draw at Premier League newcomers Swansea City. "If we are honest, we have been lacking a bit in that department since Darren Bent left in January and we know that." Craig Bellamy is the ideal candidate for a short-term move as the Welshman can also play wide on the left, an area where Sunderland are without a specialist after failing to land Charles N'Zogbia from Wigan Athletic. …

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