According to reports in the Northern Echo, Brighton and Hove Albion are ready to return with a £5m bid for Sunderland midfielder Paddy McNair this week having had a £3.5m bid rejected, and their Premier League rivals Southampton should be looking to hijack any deal.
Well, the Northern Echo says that the Seagulls are determined to sign the Northern Ireland international following the Wearside outfit’s relegation from the Championship, and after seeing their initial offer rejected they are ready to return with a bigger one.
The Northern Echo says that Brighton boss Chris Hughton has identified the 23-year-old former Manchester United man as one of his top summer targets, and doesn’t want the south coast outfit’s board give up on a deal to bring the versatile player to the Amex Stadium this summer.
The report adds that while Albion are prepared to offer the £5m for McNair, it is likely that some could be add-ons even though it is likely to be more than £3.5m up front.
Meanwhile, new Saints manager Mark Hughes, who faces a huge battle to bring a player who was once a £170,000-a-week target for Man United to St Mary’s, will be determined to strengthen his squad after they narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League this term, and defence and midfield could be two of his priority areas to strengthen.
The 23-year-old would have been hoping to lead Sunderland back to the top flight at the first attempt, but a cruciate ligament injury meant that he didn’t make his first league appearance until October, with further issues meaning that he only played 16 Championship games in total for the Black Cats.
The Northern Irishman scored five times in those outings however – including in their final six matches of the campaign – and perhaps showed that he still has the ability to make a real impact at Premier League level.
Following their disappointing defensive record last term, Hughes may well be looking for a new defensive midfielder and centre-back this summer, and the 6ft 2in tall McNair is able to cover both roles comfortably.
While he hasn’t enjoyed great success with Sunderland after suffering two successive relegations, the 23-year-old has shown glimpses of the quality he has, and of course you don’t come through the Manchester United youth system and appear for the first team unless you have something about you.
The fact that he could be purchased for just £5m could mean that he is also a bargain buy for a club that has never spent more than £20m on a player.