Bruce set to start signing spree

Bruce has already met with chairman Niall Quinn and identified a

series of potential Bosman signings who could start the ball

rolling. He told the Journal: “I had a meeting yesterday morning

with Niall. It was about the way ahead and which way we are

plotting and looking. “I would expect us to be extremely busy this

summer. There are a couple of Bosmans out there he now needs to

take over. “There are a couple of players we have identified and

straight after the season has finished, we can talk to them.”

Sunderland have been heavily linked with Blackpool midfielder David

Vaughan in recent weeks, and having dismissed suggestions they

could be in the market for the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy and

Miroslav Klose, will also target out-of-contract strikers. Indeed,

the Black Cats’ main concentration for the close-season will be on

their front line with loan signing Danny Welbeck set to return to

Manchester United and Bruce not confident of landing him on a

permanent basis, and Fraizer Campbell facing the best part of a

year on the sidelines with a second serious knee injury. Having

sold Darren Bent to Aston Villa in January, that has left the

manager with only Asamoah Gyan at his disposal. Bruce said: “You

don’t have to be a brain surgeon to work out where we have to

start. It is the top end of the pitch, which is the most expensive.

“We have to go in [to next season] with at least four recognised

strikers because we have seen what happens if you don’t. “We have

got one, so we have three more to sign, although having said that,

[Stephane] Sessegnon has played well of late and gives us another

option.” Jay Bothroyd, Johan Elmander and John Carew have all been

mentioned in dispatches, as has relegated West Ham’s Demba Ba,

although several, if not all, of them are certain to have a series

of suitors this summer. Meanwhile, full-back Phil Bardsley picked

up both the Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season

awards at Wednesday night’s club dinner. England midfielder Jordan

Henderson was named Young Player of the Season.