Sunderland call time on Nugent deal

Last updated at 17:44 02 July 2007

Sunderland have withdrawn their offer for Preston striker David Nugent after waiting in vain for an answer from the player.

The Black Cats agreed an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £6million, for

the 22-year-old several weeks ago and were given permission to talk to him.

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However, Nugent went away on holiday after the European Under-21 Championships

in Holland without making a decision, and Sunderland manager Roy Keane has lost

patience and is now looking elsewhere.

Chief executive Peter Walker said: "I can confirm that we have withdrawn our

offer for the player.

"Naturally, work continues behind the scenes to strengthen our squad ahead of

the new season and talks are ongoing with a number of targets."

Just last week, chairman Niall Quinn insisted he understood Nugent needed time

to make his decision with several suitors in the market for him.

However, Keane has repeatedly insisted during his time in charge at the Stadium

of Light that he wants a squad of players whose commitment to the club is


There is little doubt he was desperate to recruit the former Bury striker, who

scored 17 goals for North End last season, and Quinn backed him with an early

and substantial bid.

However, another unnamed club were also given permission to talk to the player,

with others waiting in the wings.

Reports have repeatedly linked the Liverpool-born frontman with Everton, the

club he supported as a boy, but the Toffees are yet to register a formal

interest amid speculation they are hoping to strike a cut-price deal in


But having seen another one-time target Diego Forlan leave Villarreal for

Atletico Madrid, Keane has called time on his interest and has now turned his

attention to the remaining names on his list.

Heerenveen's 26-year-old hotshot Afonso Alves is the latest man to be linked

with a switch to Wearside after scoring 34 times in 31 games for his club last


But it is understood the manager wants to recruit a striker with a proven

pedigree in the Premier League.

Former Manchester United team-mate Alan Smith seems unlikely to be that man

with Middlesbrough leading the chase for a player who still hopes to have a

future at Old Trafford.

Today's decision signals Sunderland's intent to step up their summer spending

spree after landing defenders Greg Halford and Russell Anderson at a combined

cost of £4million.

It emerged at the weekend that the Black Cats had been given permission to talk

to Paul McShane and Paul Robinson.

McShane looks destined for Wearside but his West Brom club-mate may not follow


Sunderland are instead expected to step up their efforts to persuade Wigan's

England Under-21 international Leighton Baines to head for the north-east

despite Latics boss Chris Hutchings insisting the 22-year-old has told him he

wants to stay at the JJB Stadium.

Manchester United winger Kieran Richardson has also been linked with the

Wearsiders as Sir Alex Ferguson continues to build his latest side.

Keane has around £25million to invest in his squad and that kind of spending

power has inevitably led to intense speculation over his targets

He and Quinn are keen to have much of their business done by the time the

players return for pre-season training next week, and that suggests a flurry of

activity over the next few days.

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