Sunderland Target Tottenham Star Roman Pavlyuchenko As Spurs Get £4m Windfall From Darren Bent's Move To Aston Villa

Spurs could step up Suarez bid as a result of north-east twist
By Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

Sunderland have made Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko their top target to replace Darren Bent - and could hand Spurs a £4 million windfall from the sale of their star man.

Bent is in line to complete a sensational move to Villa Park in a deal that could be worth a total of £24m after he submitted a written transfer request following Sunday's 1-1 draw with Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby.

But Spurs are set for a cash boost from the deal worth around £4m under the terms of his transfer to Sunderland from White Hart Lane in July 2009 – and will finally recoup the full £16.5m they paid Charlton for his services two years earlier.

The 26-year-old cost the Black Cats an initial £10m, rising to £16.5m with additional performance-related payments which will all be due to Spurs if he leaves Sunderland for more than that sum.

And the Londoners could be set to benefit even more from Bent's proposed move as Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has made Spurs ace Pavlyuchenko one of his main targets as he prepares for the departure of his top goalscorer.

Bruce is believed to be ready to offer £12m for the 29-year-old Russian and is also considering a bid to turn Danny Welbeck's loan move from Manchester United into a permanent deal. Spurs have had no official approach from Sunderland but are aware of genuine interest from the north-east.

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is prepared to sell Pavlyuchenko as he is desperate to improve his misfiring strikeforce, with Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane also likely to leave the club this month.

Pavlyuchenko's departure would allow Tottenham to make a serious move for Ajax forward Luis Suarez after talks between the two clubs hit a stalemate last week. Redknapp remains hesitant about whether the Uruguayan can reproduce his stunning form in Holland in the Premier League, but he understands he could quickly be forced in to action because of serious interest from Liverpool.

Redknapp is keen to improve his squad as Spurs target a top-four finish for a second consecutive season but still has doubts about whether Suarez will suit his side's style of play.

Meanwhile, Spurs agreed a £2.5m fee with Everton on Monday for South African midfielder Steven Pienaar and expect to complete a four-year deal in the coming days despite a rival bid from Chelsea.

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