After initially refusing to budge on a £15million asking price for Adam Johnson, Manchester City’s admittance they would let the player leave for £10million has put Sunderland on red alert.
Johnson, thought by many to be an unlucky omission from Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad, made only 26 league appearances for City last season, damaging his chances of regular involvement for England.
Also bearing in mind that the majority of these outings came from the bench, Johnson’s frustrations with life at Eastlands become more understandable.
He would certainly get the chance to start more than the ten games he did last season, if completing a move to Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland, which could prove ideal.
Familiar with the North-East, Johnson was a trainee at Black Cats’ rivals Middlesbrough, before securing a £7million switch to City two-and-a-half years ago.
Initially a loan target for Sunderland, O’Neill was disappointed to discover Roberto Mancini was reluctant to let his winger leave on a non-permanent basis.
His demands of a £15million return for the 11-cap England star were also deemed excessive by the Black Cats, who would struggle to generate those sort of funds without the sale of talent such as Stephane Sessegnon, whom O’Neill has vowed to keep.
Now though, with the Citizens believed to be willing to do business for £10million, Sunderland could be back in pole position to land the wideman.
However, the biggest stumbling block could prove to be Johnson’s wages, which City, in no hurry to sell the player, are unwilling to subsidise should he leave the club this summer.
Only seven months have passed since Johnson signed fresh terms with the Premier League champions, and with that five-year contract being worth £70,000 per week, the winger would be keen to collect similar wages should he make his mooted Stadium of Light switch.