Wolves tell Martin O'Neill to end Steven Fletcher transfer saga

 

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The Independent Football

Wolves have put a £15 million valuation on their striker Steven Fletcher and called on Sunderland to pay that figure or end their interest.

Martin O'Neill, the Sunderland manager, saw a renewed bid, of around £12m, turned down yesterday for the 25-year-old Scotland international. Fletcher has already given notice of his desire to leave the Championship club by handing in a transfer request at Molineux.

However, Wolves not only turned down the improved offer from Sunderland but called for the transfer saga to end. "We want to keep our best players," said chief executive Jez Moxey. "If our valuations are not met then they will remain at Wolves.

"All parties need to draw a line under this matter, which has now dragged on for more than a month. We need to focus on the season ahead and these disruptions to the squad's preparations are unhelpful. We cannot allow this speculation to drag on indefinitely up to the closure of the transfer window."

Sunderland are unlikely to go as high as £15m for Fletcher, who scored 12 goals last season in the Wolves side relegated to the Championship. That was the second time he has suffered demotion in the last three seasons, but his reputation has not been damaged.

Sunderland need firepower with their campaign set to start at Arsenal on Saturday. Nicklas Bendtner, their joint leading scorer last season, has left and Stéphane Sessègnon is a doubt for the opening fixture with an ankle injury. They have struggled for goals in their pre-season friendlies, but O'Neill will not be held to ransom.

Defender Phil Bardsley has undergone an operation on his ankle and is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season.

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