Bruce defends striker decision

Bruce defends striker decision

Published May. 26, 2011 11:54 a.m. ET

Steve Bruce insists Sunderland were right to refuse to pay an "astronomical" fee to replace striker Darren Bent in January.

Bent's shock £24million switch to Aston Villa left the Black Cats with money in their pockets, but less than a fortnight in which to re-invest it, and they took the decision not to spend in haste in a notoriously difficult market.

However, the gamble backfired to an extent when Danny Welbeck was ruled out by injury and Fraizer Campbell's hopes of making a comeback were dashed by a recurrence of his problems, leaving Bruce with only Asamoah Gyan, who was himself to succumb to a hamstring tear.

Bruce told the club's official website: "At the time, we couldn't really bring in a striker who would have made a difference.


"We were quoted astronomical money, stupid things. In the end, we decided to keep a bit back for the summer when we can get value for money.

"Of course, I didn't know we were going to collapse like we did, but I still think it was the right decision."

Bruce has made the recruitment of as many as three strikers his main priority for this summer, and he has inevitably already been linked with a series of potential targets.

Sunderland looked at Senegal international Demba Ba in January, as did Stoke, but the player eventually ended up at West Ham.

It emerged yesterday the Hammers have registered a complaint with the Barclays Premier League alleging an illegal approach by the Black Cats in the aftermath of their relegation from the top flight with potential purchasers ready to cash in on any exodus.

The matter is currently being investigated, although the Wearsiders are adamant they always do their business through the correct channels.

Tottenham's Peter Crouch is the latest frontman to be linked with the club along with the likes of Lorient's Kevin Gameiro and Blackpool's DJ Campbell, although sources on Wearside have played down reports Manchester City's Craig Bellamy could be in their sights.

It is understood Sunderland's main aim is to find a man with physical presence as a foil for Gyan, who spent much of the time after Bent's departure playing as a lone striker.

Crouch, of course, turned down a move to the Stadium of Light two summers ago, opting instead to head for White Hart Lane from Portsmouth.