Football

Bruce rules out selling big name players

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Sunderland boss Steve Bruce insists only a "ridiculous" offer would prompt him to even think about selling one of his key players this month.

Amid speculation that rival clubs could be ready to test his resolve to hang on to the likes of Asamoah Gyan and emerging England international Jordan Henderson, Bruce would only be forced to make a decision by an offer he simply could not refuse.

"Absolutely," he said. "It would take crazy offers for me to consider anything. The ones who are out on loan are the ones where I would envisage there would be a bit of business to be done."

Bruce, with the backing of owner Ellis Short and chairman Niall Quinn, has significantly strengthened his squad with the likes of record £13million-plus signing Gyan and £10million strike-partner Darren Bent, as well as Michael Turner and Titus Bramble among others.

He has hinted that business will be limited in the winter transfer window in the belief that Aston Villa's Stewart Downing, Manchester City's Adam Johnson and Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia will be unavailable.

"As for the big 'uns we have got," he added. "We have worked extremely hard, the chairman and the owner, to get the club in this situation, so the last thing you would want to be doing is dismantling it.

"It would take ridiculous money, absolutely, for us even to think about doing anything."

Those who could move on this month are the likes of George McCartney, David Healy, Nyron Nosworthy, Andy Reid, Matt Kilgallon and Paulo da Silva, who has rejected a move to Mexican club Cruz Azul but also attracted interest from Spain.

Jack Colback's loan spell at Ipswich also comes to an end on January 14, leaving Bruce with another decision.

In the meantime, the manager will concentrate on trying to secure his side's first back-to-back league wins this season at Aston Villa on Wednesday night.

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