Kenwyne Jones has been targeted by Liverpool, Manchester United and Aston Villa as his days at Sunderland look numbered.
Trinidad & Tobago international Jones was dropped for last Saturday’s match at Manchester City and even though he came on to score in the 4-3 defeat, Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will listen to offers for him at the right price.
Sunderland turned down a £15million approach by Spurs last season, but a similar figure could now see Jones, 25, leave the Stadium of Light.
He forged a formidable partnership with Darren Bent earlier this season, but his goals have dried up. His strike at Manchester City was his first since October 3 and only his sixth of the season.
Jones joined Sunderland two-and-a-half years ago for £6m from Southampton, but he has netted only 23 times in the Premier League since then in 77 games.
Villa boss Martin O’Neill believes he is in the box seat to sign Jones, but Manchester United and Liverpool have also expressed an interest in the striker.
Two years ago, Roy Keane labelled Jones the “best forward in the Premier League” and while his goals-to-games tally does not back that up, on his day he is a formidable striker.
Bruce is planning on big changes to his playing staff, but yesterday he urged England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce to hand a player who cost him nothing – local boy Jordan Henderson – his first cap.
Bruce said: “It is not my squad to pick but it is only a matter of time for the boy – if he keeps his feet on the ground.
“We have got a very, very good player on our hands and he is only going to get better.” Sunderland-born Henderson, 19, made his first team debut only 13 months ago in a 5-0 defeat at Chelsea, but this season he has become a regular in the heart of Bruce’s midfield.
Henderson must now be close to earning his first Under-21 cap, especially after scoring his first Premier League goal on Saturday.
Bruce, whose side have won only one of their last nine games, said: “Jordan has had a fantastic start to his career and since day one, since I walked through the door, he has been nothing short of fantastic.
“I keep saying there is a lot still to learn which is normal when you are 19, but the kid was fantastic again at the weekend. He made a goal, scored a goal and was close to scoring against Portsmouth and Villa, so he has had a great start to his young career.
“He still has to keep his feet on the ground, work hard, but he seems level-headed enough to do that. There are no indications at all that he needs a rest.” When asked if Henderson has been Sunderland’s best player this season, Bruce said: “You’ve got a point. When I first walked through the door, the kid grabbed me straightaway as if to say, wow, who is that? And that was some going for an 18-year-old.
“Out of everyone here, he was the one. I had more phone calls on the beach about him than anyone.
“He had a really successful time at Coventry on loan and there must have been about eight clubs who wanted him on loan.
“I knew he had done well at Coventry because my scout who lives near there told me about this kid. He has been excellent.”
Bruce will be hoping Henderson can help inspire Sunderland to victory over Everton at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day.
Wearside fans have grown increasingly concerned over the mini-slump their team have suffered in recent weeks which has left them only five points above the relegation zone. ‘Out of everyone here, Henderson is the one’