Keane brings in Diouf to bolster front line

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The Independent Online

Sunderland are today expected to announce the signing of El Hadji Diouf from Bolton Wanderers for a fee that is thought to be around £3.5m. With Pascal Chimbonda having followed Teemu Tainio from Tottenham to Sunderland, Diouf, 27, will become Roy Keane's third signing in a week and there is the prospect of more to follow.

Chimbonda completed his transfer on Saturday and his defensive colleague at Spurs, Younes Kaboul, may yet arrive on Wearside despite the intervention of Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp last Thursday.

Steed Malbranque, the fourth of the Tottenham players for whom Sunderland agreed a £23m fee 10 days ago, is another undecided about his future but Sunderland anticipate an answer from both Kaboul and Malbranque within the next 24 hours. Unlike Sunderland, Portsmouth have not agreed a fee with Spurs for Kaboul.

With bids on the table for other players in their positions, Sunderland are relaxed about Kaboul and Malbranque and can now be expected to concentrate on recruiting a new centre forward. With Kenwyne Jones out for the first two months of the season according to Keane, there is a need to buy and there remains interest in Tottenham's Darren Bent.

Diouf will be deemed a controversial signing in some quarters because of his past, which includes fines for spitting at opponents and some opposing fans. But his effectiveness as a dangerous attacker is undisputed by even the sternest of his critics. In Diouf and Chimbonda, Keane has purchased seasoned Premier League players of the calibre he insisted Sunderland had to get if they are to progress, even if both players' volatility could prove to be a test of the young manager.

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