Sunderland’s big decision looms on Inter Milan’s Duncan

Paolo Di Canio.
Paolo Di Canio.
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SUNDERLAND must contemplate whether to persist in their pursuit of Alfred Duncan after reportedly failing to strike a resolution for the Inter Milan midfielder.

Duncan is one of three youngsters being linked with the Black Cats, along with defender Ibrahima Mbaye and attacking midfielder Daniel Bessa.

Ghana international Duncan has been one of Sunderland’s prime targets this summer, but Inter are holding out for an offer around the £7million mark for the 20-year-old.

Sunderland director of football Roberto De Fanti held talks with Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio on Friday over Duncan, where the Wearsiders are mooted to have seen an improved bid rejected.

But despite reports yesterday, that is unlikely to signal the end of Sunderland’s interest in Duncan.

De Fanti has earmarked Duncan as an ideal component for the brand of football Paolo Di Canio is hoping to build at the Stadium of Light, with Sunderland also holding discussions over Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone – as exclusively revealed by the Echo last week.

Inter have reportedly rejected Sunderland’s approach for Mbaye too, although they are willing to let Bessa leave on a season-long loan. That deal is far from being concluded though.

Wingers Callum McManaman and Matt Ritchie were also linked with a move to Wearside yesterday.

McManaman impressed after breaking into the Wigan team during the second half of last season and is not short on admirers, despite the Latics’ relegation to the Championship.

Sunderland are reportedly looking to pip Everton to the signing of the 22-year-old, but the mooted £7m fee is likely to be dissuade both clubs, while the Wearsiders would face competition from elsewhere for the Scouser.

The Black Cats were credited with an interest in Bournemouth’s Ritchie earlier in the summer, with Di Canio working with the 23-year-old at former club Swindon.

And there was renewed speculation over Ritchie yesterday after QPR boss and former Bournemouth manager and advisor Harry Redknapp, confirmed Sunderland’s interest in a national newspaper column.