Bruce defends Bent decision

Sunderland boss did not want to pay an astronomical fee

Bruce: Defends the club's decision to not sign a striker following Bent's departure

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Steve Bruce insists Sunderland were right to refuse to pay an 'astronomical' fee to replace Darren Bent in January.

The striker's move to Aston Villa for a potential £24million ensured the Black Cats had money to spare in the transfer market but Bruce took the decision not to spend in haste with less than a fortnight in which to reinvest.

But, following the former Wigan boss' decision, Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell were added to an ever-growing injury list for Sunderland and left Bruce with only Asamoah Gyan, who then tore a hamstring.

However, despite the decision seeming to backfire, Bruce remains adamant the club made the right choice.

"Of course, I didn't know we were going to collapse like we did, but I still think it was the right decision."

Steve Bruce

Quotes of the week

Bruce told the club's official website: "We were quoted astronomical money, stupid things. In the end, we decided to keep a bit back for the summer when we can get value for money.

"Of course, I didn't know we were going to collapse like we did, but I still think it was the right decision."

Priority

But now, ahead of the summer signings, Bruce will undoubtedly make the recruitment of strikers his priority and has already been linked with various targets.

Tottenham's Peter Crouch is the latest frontman to be linked with the club along with the likes of Lorient's Kevin Gameiro and Blackpool's DJ Campbell, although sources on Wearside have played down reports Manchester City's Craig Bellamy could be in their sights.

It is understood Sunderland's main aim is to find a man with physical presence as a foil for Gyan, who spent much of the time after Bent's departure playing as a lone striker.

Crouch, of course, turned down a move to the Stadium of Light two summers ago, opting instead to head for White Hart Lane from Portsmouth.