Sunderland are closing in on Atletico Madrid winger Cristian Rodriguez with their attempts to sign Fabio Borini likely to fall through, say the Telegraph.
Borini’s reluctance to make a permanent move to Sunderland put the Italian’s proposed £14million move on hold. After injuring his shoulder in Liverpool’s preseason friendly with Roma, the transfer appears even less likely.
Poyet has openly admitted his interest in bringing his compatriot to the Stadium of Light. Speaking about the possibility of a transfer for the winger, Poyet said:
"I had a chat with people in Uruguay, who are obviously desperate for Rodríguez to come with us," Poyet said.
"At the moment it's a possibility, but it's no more than that. He's a player that I admire a lot because he's got power, desire and experience playing with the top teams. He wants to play football, he's desperate to be playing week-in, week-out.
Surplus to Requirements
Rodriguez only started two La Liga matches last season, with a further 18 appearances coming from the bench. The 28-year-old played 10 matches in Atletico’s run to the Champions League final, but only made the starting XI once. In fact the Uruguayan has only started 14 matches in the past two seasons.
The arrival of Antoine Griezmann will further push Rodriguez down the pecking order and with the Uruguayan already deemed surplus to requirements Sunderland should have no problems convincing either the player or club.
Despite a lack of regular football last season, Rodriguez edged his way into Uruguay’s World Cup squad, and featured in every match under Oscar Tabarez.
The Uruguayan is a hard worker and will no doubt put in a shift to work his way into Poyet’s first team plans. But quality-wise, the winger has played so little first team football, so it will be difficult to know what to expect from Rodriguez.
Season of change
Poyet faces a major rebuilding job at Sunderland, as his side look to push for a top half finish. Previous manager Paolo di Canio made plenty of signings last summer, but many of them were inexperienced in Premier League football or lacking in quality.
Sunderland seemed to have learnt their lesson, signing Costel Pantilimon, Jordi Gomez, Billy Jones and Patrick van Aanholt, who have all played in the Premier League.
Craig Gardner, Jack Colback, Phil Bardsley have all left the club, with Argentine Ignacio Scocco bringing his six-month stint in Wearside to an end in a move to former side Newell’s Old Boys.