Black Cats eye Magpies target

O'Neill ready to beat Newcastle to Anita

Vurnon Anita: Being chased by Newcastle and Sunderland

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Sky Sports understands Sunderland are ready to fight Premier League rivals Newcastle for Ajax ace Vurnon Anita.

Newcastle have had a bid rejected by Ajax for Anita with the Dutch giants thought to be holding out for a fee in the region of £10-£12million for the Holland international.

The Magpies are thought to be preparing a new offer for Anita, but now Sunderland have expressed an interest in the defensive midfielder.

Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill is keen to bolster his midfield options this summer and has earmarked Anita as one of his top transfer targets.

O'Neill has money to spend this summer and he is hoping to steal a march on North East rivals Newcastle by winning the race for Anita.

A number of other Premier League clubs are thought to be tracking Anita with Aston Villa chief Paul Lambert a long-term admirer of the 23-year-old since his time in charge at Norwich.

Ajax are reluctant to lose Anita, but know they would not be able to resist a sizeable offer for the all-action midfielder.