Sunderland to swoop for £3.5m Piquionne
Published 23:00 25/01/11 By Alan Nixon - EXCLUSIVE
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is ready to snatch striker Freddie Piquionne from West Ham in a shock £3.5million move.
Bruce has switched his search for Darren Bent’s replacement to Piquionne after Stoke refused to budge on their valuation of Ricardo Fuller - the Black Cats manager’s first choice.
Frenchman Piquionne is the top scorer at struggling Hammers and would jump at the move to Wearside, where he would have a chance to chase a European place rather than fight a relegation battle.
Bruce will agree a fee today if he can as he is fed up with waiting for the Potters to agree a deal for Jamaican star Fuller. Sunderland want to pay for Fuller in stages because of his history of knee problems.
Ex-Portsmouth star Piquionne will kick up a fuss if Sunderland make a formal approach, with their interest emerging as the Hammers try to sort out terms on the bid for Hoffenheim’s Senegalese striker Demba Ba.
The controversial Ba failed a medical at Stoke earlier this month but West Ham would take him on loan initially if his German club can be persuaded to let him leave on that basis.
The Hammers are also negotiating with Blackburn for El-Hadji Diouf. They want him on a free transfer, but Rovers manager Steve Kean is looking for a fee.