Bruce to wield Blacks Cats axe
The Wearsiders finished 15th and 16th in their first two seasons back in the Premier League and could finish Bruce's first year in charge in the top half. The £10million signing of Darren Bent last summer has proved great value for Bruce as the former Tottenham striker has plundered 25 goals for the Blacks Cats this season. Bruce is looking to make similar signings this summer and could axe up to nine players in a bid to revitalise his squad. Bruce could reportedly cash in on striker Kenwyne Jones, while David Healy, Daryl Murphy and Nyron Nosworthy are all expected to leave having been out on loan this season, and left-back George McCartney has not settled since his return from West Ham. Phil Bardsley, Roy O'Donovan, Marton Fulop and Teemu Tainio could also be on the way out, while a further deal is unlikely for loan signing Benjani. Bruce hopes to make Alan Hutton's move from Tottenham permanent, though, while Paraguayan midfielder Cristian Riveros is also said to be on his wish-list. "It will be three or four new signings and maybe twice as many out," Bruce told the Daily Mirror. "There won't be huge, huge changes because I've got the nucleus of a decent squad. "Defensively is where, for me, we will have to improve next season. We need to address the John Mensah situation and the Alan Hutton situation. "We need to find out how much they are (to buy). We are at the start of those negotiations." Sunderland won't be taking up an £8million option on Mensah, whose season-long loan from Lyon has been punctuated by injury, but they may take the Ghana defender on a cut-price deal. "I'm just looking to add a few bits of quality to the squad," Bruce added. "Last summer we had to reduce the numbers in the squad and get the quality in there. We have improved it, Darren Bent being the biggest example. We already have a big striker on board who is going to cost us £15m in the end. "That's the difference, but we're in a position now where we have a little bit more strength and we will look to add those sorts of quality players to the squad this summer. "We did some staggering numbers last summer in terms of players coming and going, and I can tell you now it wont be anything like that this time."