Sunderland eye defender

Sunderland will have to increase their reported offer for West Ham defender James Tomkins if they are to land the player.

Black Cats boss Sam Allardyce knows Tomkins well from his days as the Hammers boss and rates him very highly, and would love to add him to his ranks at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland have had one offer, thought to be of £8m, turned down and now West Ham have made it clear they want £11m for the versatile defender.

The 27-year-old, who was restricted to 25 Premier League appearances last season, is also wanted by Crystal Palace and Stoke, and whoever comes up with the right offer is likely to land him.

Allardyce is on the lookout for more cover in defence, with Wes Brown ending his tenure at the club and Republic of Ireland centre-back John O’Shea entering the final year of his contract.

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