Premier League

Sunderland close in on Peruzzi

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Mon, 22 Jul 2013 15:31:00

Michael Laudrup expects to have Chico Flores fit for the start of Swansea's Europa League campaign next week.

The centre-half has been battling a thigh injury and did not feature in Sunday's friendly against Exeter.

But next week's European qualifier against Malmo or Hibernian is a realistic target, and Laudrup's defensive hand was strengthened further when recent signing Jordi Amat came through a half of the Exeter game despite a shoulder problem.

Laudrup told the South Wales Evening Post: "Jordi came into the game with a shoulder injury, he had a knock the other day.

"He wanted to play like everyone else so he had 45 minutes, but he was not 100%.

"I think he will be okay for Europe. We will have to see with Chico as well, I hope he will be back in training on Thursday.

"We will have all four centre-backs back again for the start of the Europa League. We have very good depth in our squad this season."

The 21-year-old defender had hoped to put pen to paper during a visit to England last week, but having agreed personal terms, the transfer was put on hold when his medical revealed concerns over a ligament injury suffered last season.

Peruzzi was subsequently sent to see specialist Professor Pier Paolo Mariani at the Clinica Deportiva Villa Stuart in Rome, and was given a programme to address the problem.

He is due to return to England when the Black Cats, who are currently in Hong Kong for the Barclays Asia Trophy, and owner and chairman Ellis Short head back to the north-east.

A statement on Velez's official website, www.velezsarsfield.com.ar, said: "As reported earlier, during the week directors Baldomar and Ordonez travelled to England with the player Gino Peruzzi to advance negotiations over the latter's transfer to Sunderland.

"After agreeing contractual terms, the player underwent a medical examination.

"The professionals found repercussions from the torn ligament Peruzzi suffered last April against Olimpo in the Copa Argentina, which prompted a three-week absence from games.

"To obtain further information about the injury and its evolution, they made contact with Dr Ricard Coppolechia, who answered their questions.

"After this, Sunderland requested permission to subject Gino Peruzzi to a final evaluation at the Clinica Deportiva Villa Stuart in Rome, which is directed by the renowned Professor Pier Paolo Mariani.

"The evaluation had a positive result with Prof Mariani recommending specific work on the affected muscle area.

"Meanwhile, Sunderland had travelled to Hong Kong for some international matches, so the English club's authorities communicated their intention to sign the contract on the return of their president in the course of this week.

"Our club's entourage returned to Argentina on Sunday, anticipating that Gino Peruzzi will travel to England again in the coming days."

Peruzzi would become the latest addition to a much-changed squad with manager Paolo Di Canio having already made nine summer signings and allowed Simon Mignolet, Titus Bramble, Matt Kilgallon and Ahmed Elmohamady to leave the club.

Sunderland face Premier League rivals Tottenham at the Hong Kong Stadium on Wednesday, and the winners will play either Manchester City or South China FC in the final on Saturday with the two losers meeting earlier the same day.

Di Canio knows the tournament will represent a challenge for his new-look side, particularly so early in pre-season, but he is confident of making an impression.

The Italian told SAFC TV: "Always I want to win in any game.

"Against Tottenham in front of most parts of the world on live television, the stadium is sold out...but it is more important for me to see my players in action.

"I am sure they are going to give their best because it's a big opportunity for all of them, and the new faces that we have, to see the improvement individually, but more importantly collectively against a top side.

"Ironically, we played the last game of the season against them. We know them approximately because they haven't changed a lot.

"It will be a good test. Obviously, we can't see, I presume, for both sides the incredible intensity straight away because we are in the middle of pre-season.

"But we will see straight away the desire, the attitude and the quality from both teams trying to beat each other."

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