Bruce shuts up shop to all but 'crazy offers'

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce insists only a "ridiculous" offer would prompt him even to think about selling one of his key players this month.

Bruce, with the backing of the club's owner, Ellis Short, and chairman, Niall Quinn, has significantly strengthened his squad with the likes of record £13m-plus signing Asamoah Gyan and his £10m strike partner Darren Bent, as well as Michael Turner and Titus Bramble among others.

The manager has hinted that business will be limited in the winter transfer window in the belief that Aston Villa's Stewart Downing, Manchester City's Adam Johnson and Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia will be unavailable.

However, amid speculation that rival clubs could be ready to test his resolve to hang on to Gyan and the emerging England international Jordan Henderson, Bruce would be forced to make a decision only by an offer he simply could not refuse.

"It would take crazy offers for me to consider anything," he said yesterday. The ones who are out on loan are the ones where I would envisage there would be a bit of business to be done. But as for the big'uns we have got, we have worked extremely hard, the chairman and the owner, to get the club in this situation, so the last thing you would want to be doing is dismantling it. It would take ridiculous money, absolutely, for us even to think about doing anything."

Those who could move on are George McCartney, David Healy, Nyron Nosworthy, Andy Reid, Matt Kilgallon and Paulo da Silva, who has rejected a move to Mexican club Cruz Azul but has attracted interest from Spain. Jack Colback's loan spell at Ipswich comes to an end on 14 January, leaving Bruce with another decision.

At Aston Villa tonight, the manager must concentrate on trying to secure his side's first back-to-back Premier League wins this season. The Black Cats bounced back from a 2-0 home defeat to Blackpool with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Blackburn on Saturday, 24 hours before Villa signalled what they hope will be the start of a fightback with a creditable 3-3 draw at Chelsea.

Bruce said: "To be fair to [Villa's manager] Gérard Houllier, he has had a few injuries to his big players. When I saw them the other day they had that familiar look about them. They were big, strong, powerful, they had pace in good areas. If you finish sixth in the Premier League for the last three years you are a good team, and he had most of them playing the other day."

Bruce will be without his captain, Lee Cattermole, for a month with a back injury which requires rest, while he has doubts over Gyan and Ahmed Elmohamady for tonight's match.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss