Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has confirmed the club is in talks with Portsmouth over England striker Peter Crouch.

Reports from the south coast on Wednesday suggest that the Black Cats have agreed a fee of around £12 million with Pompey for the striker after discussions over several weeks.

Bruce was giving little away, but said: "He is a player I have admired for a very long time and I suppose a lot of managers do exactly the same thing."

He added: "As we speak at this particular moment, we are in discussions with the club.

"As far as I am aware - and I've just come off the training ground - we are in discussions with the club and that's as far as it is at the moment.

"But the discussions have been going on now for a few weeks. We hope we can try to put something together because he would be the type of player of course that would signal our intention of the way we want to take the football club forward."

However, asked directly if a fee had been agreed, Bruce replied: "I don't understand that just yet, but I have just come off the training ground.

"I haven't been told anything to the contrary. I will be getting back to work in the next couple of hours and we'll see.

"I know discussions at high levels were going on late last night, so we'll see and I'll be able to tell you more in the next 24 hours."

Meanwhile, Bruce confirmed that Daryl Murphy is in talks with Hull after the two clubs agreed a fee and revealed that Stoke are close to striking a deal to sign skipper Dean Whitehead.

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