Wed, Jul
23 New Articles


Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has accused Liverpool of "badgering" striker Kenwyne Jones and described the Merseyside club's conduct as "hugely disrespectful".

Jones has been at the centre of sustained speculation in January with reports claiming that he is a target for Liverpool following the sale of Andriy Voronin and an injury sustained by established first-choice striker Fernando Torres.

But Bruce is adamant there has been no contact between the clubs and is angry at what he perceives to be unsettling tactics employed by Liverpool.

Furthermore, the Sunderland manager has no intention of selling a player who has scored six goals and claimed two assists in 17 Premier League appearances this season.

"I find it hugely disrespectful, the antics of Liverpool," Bruce said. "I have huge respect for Liverpool and the way they have done their business and the way they have conducted themselves.

"But I have to say, this constant badgering of Kenwyne Jones when we as a club haven't heard anything, and then I keep reading this nonsense that I'm going to allow him to go on loan because it's a tax advantage for both clubs is the biggest load of rubbish I have read for weeks.

`Kenwyne Jones is not going to go on loan to anybody for the help of Liverpool or anybody else. I would be mad. Now, if Liverpool are going to come and offer an amount of money, then we all know what happens.

"Every player - every player - has got a price and a valuation. I have to say though, it would have to be a huge amount of money for us even to contemplate it with a week to go in the transfer window.

"The only thing it's done is unsettle the boy. It's got him probably in a situation where he thinks I don't want him, which is far from the case. But I can't stop it. Publicly or privately, I can't stop this constant thing of Kenwyne Jones every day.''

Even normally mild-mannered chairman Niall Quinn has been angered by the speculation, and Bruce, who admitted he would have to re-assure Jones he is wanted on Wearside after training today, was at a loss to explain a story which simply refuses to go away.

He said: "I have said - and I try to be as honest as I can - everybody in football has got a price, whether you are Ronaldo or Kaka or Kenwyne Jones. Now if Liverpool are serious - which I don't know if they are or whether it is Rafa having games with his board, I don't know - but the ones who are suffering from it are Sunderland and Kenwyne Jones.

"This notion that I'm going to let him go on loan, people must look at that and think I have lost my marbles. I may not be very good at the minute after being beaten 7-2, but I haven't lost my marbles totally, that's for sure.''

Bruce's admission that Jones has his price, however, is not necessarily an invitation to Liverpool. He added: "I haven't even got a price because I don't think Liverpool can go there. It's like me asking for Steven Gerrard on loan - I'll try, maybe. It's hugely disrespectful.''

Sunderland, who head for Portsmouth in the FA Cup fourth round tomorrow, have made an enquiry over Schalke frontman Kevin Kuranyi, and while Bruce does not expect that to go anywhere this month, he is adamant he is not looking for a replacement for Jones.

He said: "Kevin Kuranyi would be of interest to most clubs, he is a fantastic player - but it isn't going to happen. He is not going to go anywhere, I wouldn't have thought. From what I am hearing, he is going to try to win the league with Schalke and be a Bosman in the summer.

"If he is a Bosman in the summer, I am sure he will have 50 clubs around Europe wanting his signature. I haven't looked - and this is the gospel truth - I haven't looked at striking options. I am very, very comfortable in what I have got.''