Sunderland ready record fee to land free-scoring midfielder

Dick Advocaat hopes a record transfer fee and a prior working relationship will help Sunderland beat Newcastle to the signing of Georginio Wijnaldum.

The 24-year-old beat much-sought-after teammate Memphis Depay to the Eredivisie Player of the Year award last season, helping PSV to claim the league title with 14 goals and four assists in 33 games.

While Depay, who led the league with 22 strikes of his own, commanded a hefty transfer fee to swap the Philips Stadion for the history-soaked stands at Manchester United, it is believed that just £15m would be enough to land the new Red Devil’s former skipper.

Advocaat, whose U-turn on leaving the Black Cats after guiding them survive the drop last term is thought to have been helped by the promise of a £50m transfer kitty, coached the midfielder during his year-long stint in the PSV dugout between 2012 and 2013.

Intriguingly it was during that campaign with Advocaat that Wijnaldum last profited in front of goal, matching the 14 he managed last term and scoring 20 in all competitions.

Both of those campaigns saw the 19-cap Dutch international play as an attacking midfielder, a position that Advocaat clearly feels needs strengthening at the Stadium of Light, where relegation is a 9/5 possibility.

The former Rangers boss certainly doesn’t have a clear path to the player’s signature though, as Newcastle’s recently appointed manager, Steve McClaren, also has designs on landing Wijnaldum’s services.

Reports that the Black Cats will break the bank to sign the Rotterdam native are wide of the mark, however, as the £15m fee reported to be on the cards will only break the club’s transfer record by £1m, used to buy Steven Fletcher from Wolves in 2012.

Considering the Scot has only scored 19 league goals in 77 games since becoming the Mackems’ most expensive player, Sunderland fans will no doubt hope for much more from an investment in Wijnaldum.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.