Sunderland set for double swoop

Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat

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Sunderland are looking to pull off a double transfer coup by securing the signatures of West Ham winger Stewart Downing and Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates.

The Black Cats have already attempted to take 30-year-old former Liverpool and Aston Villa winger Downing back to his native north-east but a reported £5million opening bid was deemed too low by the Hammers.

However boss Dick Advocaat is set to test the water with an improved £7million offer for the former England international and hope the Londoners’ impending big-money £10.7million outlay for Marseille forward Dimitri Payet will persuade them to sell.

Downing spent a brief loan spell at the Stadium of Light from north-east rivals Middlesbrough in 2003 and he would link up with former Boro Academy graduates Lee Cattermole, Adam Johnson and Danny Graham if he were to move to Wearside in the transfer window.

Meanwhile Advocaat is also keen to strengthen his defensive options and, having been linked with Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk and out-of-contract Aston Villa stopper Ron Vlaar, it appears a £4million swoop for Coates is imminent.

The 24-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, has been told he is not in the plans of Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

And with Uruguay eliminated from the Copa America by hosts Chile on Wednesday night, Coates is set to return to England to sort his future in the coming days.

Sunderland, who managed to escape relegation from the Premier League for the second successive season last term, are 2.75 to be relegated in 2015-16.

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