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Sunderland suddenly in the market for a striker

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce and chairman Niall Quinn whilst desperate to replace the departed Darren Bent are also aware of the dangers of buying in haste and repenting at leisure. In the interim their main concentration is currently on Europe and a short-term signing with a view to a permanent move during the summer.

Monaco's Dieumerci Mbokani is a possible target, but Sunderland are unwilling to commit themselves to a big-money swoop without trying before they buy.

They are considering a series of targets closer to home, with Villa's John Carew, Cardiff's Jay Bothroyd and Stoke's Ricardo Fuller among those being considered as squad additions.

The focus on Europe can be explained by the fact Barclays Premier League clubs are only allowed four domestic loan deals a season and only two at any one time.

Sunderland have Danny Welbeck and Nedum Onuoha on loan from Manchester United and Manchester City respectively, and both arrangements are set to run until the end of the season.

Quinn has played down talk of a move for Tottenham's Robbie Keane.

He told Kildare TV: "What we are looking for to help [Asamoah] Gyan and Danny Welbeck along is probably a physical presence.

"Robbie works well off a big physical player, but we don't have that now. Robbie doesn't quite suit us now."

 It's all kicking off again! Click here for the No1 coverage of Sunderland's winter market transfer news.

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Dave Williams

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