Sunderland linked to one of La Gazzetta's top players under 20

There are rumours that Sunderland are keeping an eye on Genoa's Sime Vrsaljko and Inter rising star Mateo Kovacic.

Sunderland have good scouting links in Italy and the Black Cats are reportedly watching two of Serie A's most promising talents.

The next few weeks could be tense for Sunderland as they fight an uphill battle for their Premier League status.

But it seems that hasn't stopped the Wearside outfit lining up some optimistic Serie A transfer targets for the summer.

According to Sky Sport, Sunderland have been tracking Genoa's Croatian right-back Sime Vrsaljko with an eye to a swoop.

The 22-year-old had an impressive start to the season and was a target for Inter in the winter transfer window. He is reportedly valued at around £5m.

The second alleged target for Sunderland is even more ambitious. Another Croatian, Mateo Kovacic isn't having the best of times at Inter but is regarded as a midfield star of the future.

At the age of 19, Kovacic was listed at number 37 in La Gazzetta dello Sport's Top 60 players Under 20 printed this week.

"He plays little, never scores, but the potential is there," was the paper's somewhat harsh assessment of Kovacic.

Kovacic has been linked to almost every major club in Europe but has generally failed to impress when given a chance in the starting line-up this season by Walter Mazzarri.

Sky Sport's report admitted that both targets would only be achievable should Sunderland manage to beat the drop.

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