Sunderland hoping to sign Manchester City starlet

First published in Sunderland Durham Times: Photograph of the Author by

SUNDERLAND are hoping to engineer a loan deal for Manchester City starlet John Guidetti after scouting the striker extensively in the second half of last season.

Guidetti, who only turned 20 in April, spent last season on loan at Dutch side Feyenoord and rapidly established himself as one of the hottest properties in the European game.

He netted 20 goals in the Eredivisie, a tally that included three separate hat-tricks and resulted in him finishing the campaign as the fifth-highest goalscorer in Dutch football.

He has subsequently returned to Manchester City, but given the depth of attacking talent at Roberto Mancini's disposal, is unlikely to command a regular first-team spot at the Etihad Stadium next season.

City officials tied him down to a three-year deal last summer, and will be extremely reluctant to sell him on during the current transfer window.

However, another loan deal would potentially be of interest, and Sunderland are hoping to muscle their way to the front of a lengthening queue.

The Black Cats sent a senior scouting delegation to a number of Feyenoord's matches last season, and O'Neill visited Holland personally to run the rule over Guidetti's abilities.

He is understood to have been impressed by what he saw, and is hoping to persuade the Manchester City hierarchy to allow the Swedish youngster to remain in the Premier League.

Guidetti, who grew up in Kenya where his father was a teacher, made his full international debut for Sweden in February, but will not be involved in Euro 2012 after sustaining an infection following a thigh injury.

As a result, his future could be sorted out prior to the start of pre-season training, although Feyenoord technical director Martin van Geel recently revealed that Manchester City are still to decide what to do with arguably their most talented youngster.

Feyenoord are desperate to sign Guidetti for a second successive season, but Sunderland are privately hoping the forward pushes for an opportunity to prove himself in England, having made just five appearances for Burnley in a loan spell in 2010.

"I can't say more than I already have done," said van Geel. "Of course we want to keep John at Feyenoord for longer, but they (Manchester City) haven't made a decision about his future yet."

While Guidetti will not be involved at Euro 2012, four Sunderland players will be travelling to the tournament after the final squads were confirmed yesterday.

Seb Larsson is part of the Sweden squad that will tackle Ukraine, England and France in Group D, while Keiren Westwood, John O'Shea and James McClean have all been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland squad that will compete against Spain, Italy and Croatia in Group C.

O'Shea's participation had been in doubt after he missed last weekend's win over Bosnia because of an ankle injury sustained in Sunderland's final game of the season against Manchester United.

However, the defender has been passed fit to travel to Poland, forcing Wolves' Kevin Foley to miss out in yesterday's final cut.

"I have made the difficult decision to leave him (Foley) out of the 23-player list after completing fitness tests on John O'Shea and Paul McShane," confirmed Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni. "I have spoken to him and understand how difficult it is."

O'Shea will wear the number four shirt for the Republic of Ireland, while McClean has been handed number 22. Westwood, who will deputise for Shay Given, is the number 16.

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