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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 18, 2008

Sunderland launch bid for four Spurs stars

Sunderland have bid for four Tottenham players as they look to significantly boost their squad ahead of the new Premier League season.

Midfielders Steed Malbranque and Teemu Tainio plus defenders Pascal Chimbonda and Younes Kaboul are all the subject of a bid by the Black Cats.

Manager Roy Keane had earlier refused to be drawn on the identity of his transfer targets but revealed he wanted to make five or six new signings before the start of the season on August 16.

It followed the news that striker Kenwyne Jones had been ruled out for up to two months with knee ligament damage.

Spurs striker Darren Bent has also been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane - with Sunderland again one of the mooted destinations.

The Black Cats fly out to Portugal today with no new faces among the party despite being linked with a host of targets including the likes of Bent, Andrew Johnson, Louis Saha and Stephen Hunt.

But the manager is remaining calm as chairman Niall Quinn and chief executive Peter Walker attempt to reach agreements which will allow him to sit down with players and sell them his vision for the club.

Keane said: 'There are different hurdles to overcome in certain deals, but we have jumped over one or two over the last few nights and I think we are close to some of the deals.

'I am pretty sure that this time next week, we will have plenty of new faces at the club.

'But it takes time. Niall and Peter are in negotiation with a few clubs at this moment and we are getting very close to them.

'But again, all I want is an opportunity to speak to these players. If they come, they come; if they don't, then you get on with it.'

The transfer market has been slow-moving so far this summer, and although Keane expects things to speed up with clubs now back in training, he does not believe there will be wild spending, and certainly not by him.

He said: 'We have been trying to buy one or two players from one or two big clubs, and certain clubs don't need to sell their players, and maybe a lot of clubs out there don't have the money that everyone thinks they have.

'Everyone thinks I have got £50million - let me tell you, it's certainly not £50million.

'I think it might be full steam ahead in a week or two. But I don't think it will be like maybe the last few summers where it has been a bit crazy.'

Keane also admitted his chances of prising defender Jonny Evans away from Manchester United again are slim.

The 20-year-old Northern Ireland international has been a huge hit at the Stadium of Light during loan spells in each of the last two seasons, and Keane has made no secret of his desire to retain his services.

However, he knows how highly Sir Alex Ferguson rates the youngster, who played for United in their pre-season friendly at Aberdeen last Saturday.

Keane said: 'Jonny is under contract and I certainly don't want to go into conversation about players who are under contract at clubs.

'Other managers do it and that annoys me. If we want to get a player and we want to speak to a player, you have got to do a deal with the club.

'It was the same last year. We all know Jonny is a top player and in an ideal world, you would like to bring him to your club.

'But he is not at a bad club in Man United, is he? And Man United certainly don't need the money.'

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