Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill has denied he was ever interested in snatching Pappiss Demba Cisse from under local rivals Newcastle’s noses.
Newcastle confirmed the £10 million deal for the Freiburg frontman earlier this week amidst reports the 26-year-old was the subject of a late bid from the Black Cats.
Rumours also persisted that Cisse had turned down a move to Sunderland in favour of a switch to the Sports Direct Arena.
However, O’Neill has rubbished claims Sunderland‘s advances were rejected by Senegalese striker, as well as refuting speculation they had ever made a bid for him.
"News was filtering through here that he had turned us down - I'm afraid we hadn't made any enquires for the player at all. Good as he is, we hadn't done so," O’Neill told reporters ahead of the Black Cats clash against Swansea this weekend.
Sunderland sit in 12th place in the Premier League after undergoing a dramatic turnaround in fortunes since the arrival of O’Neill on Wearside, while Newcastle have also impressed and broke back into the top six last weekend thanks to a 1-0 home win over QPR.
O’Neill insists he is unconcerned about the form of his neighbours, and says the best way to close the gap between the two clubs is by focusing on their own performances.
"Newcastle are doing brilliantly and of course, that might not please every Sunderland fan - it might not please any of them - but we can't do anything about it at the moment,” the Ulsterman commented.
"We have to look after ourselves, and we will try to do that as best we can in the next couple of months."