Sunderland are the first club to have shown their hand in the chase for Steven Fletcher after submitting a bid for the Wolves striker.
Martin O’Neill’s summer-long pursuit of Fletcher moved a step closer to a resolution last night after Sunderland tabled a formal offer for the 25-year-old striker, said to be close to Wolves’ £10m asking price.
The Shields Gazette – the Northumberland Gazette’s sister paper – understands that Sunderland are the only outfit to have actually made a bid for Fletcher, despite Wolves receiving enquiries from both Fulham and Stoke for the Scottish hitman.
And O’Neill will hope that by moving ahead of their Premier League rivals, Sunderland will have the edge in landing one of his principal summer targets.
Wolves are not necessarily resolved to losing Fletcher, and privately still harbour hopes of keeping the former Hibs and Burnley striker at Molineux.
But there is also a realisation that a double figures bid would be tough to turn down after suffering relegation from the Premier League last season.
O’Neill has so far been frustrated in the transfer window after making just one signing – Bosman arrival Carlos Cuellar – and missing out on Blackburn winger Junior Hoilett, who completed a move to big-spending QPR last week.
The Sunderland boss confirmed the club had made offers for players, and were attempting to negotiate fees for those on his wishlist.
O’Neill said: “We are just waiting because there are prices to be negotiated and these days it takes a long time. It tends to drag on.”
Fletcher, who missed Wolves’ pre-season win over Walsall on Saturday through injury, has been well aware of Sunderland’s interest and is thought to be interested in a move to the Stadium of Light. He notched 12 league goals last season for the top-flight’s basement boys.