North-East latest: Newcastle linked with World Cup striker; Sunderland star dismisses exit talk

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We bring you the latest news from Newcastle United, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

1) Newcastle set to do battle for Islam Slimani

Newcastle United are hoping to beat Stoke City and West Ham United to the signing of Islam Slimani, according to the Daily Express.

The Algerian striker is thought to have been made available by Sporting Lisbon for £6 million and he is of interest to the Premier League trio.

Alan Pardew has spoken of his determination to find the right striker to solve the club’s attacking problems, after a succession of targets have opted to join other clubs during the transfer window so far.

And Slimani, who has impressed at the World Cup, is thought to be top of his wishlist at the moment.

2) Jozy Altidore’s World Cup may not be over

Sunderland striker, Jozy Altidore, may still play in Brazil for the United States, Jurgen Klinsmann has revealed.

Altidore picked up what looked like a serious injury in his nation’s first game against Ghana, but the US manager is hoping that the striker can still have a part to play.

United States play Germany tomorrow, knowing a point will secure their qualification, and if they do get through there is a hope that Altidore may be fit for the knockout stages.

“Jozy is recovering really well; he’s doing a tremendous job,” Klinsmann said to reporters out in Brazil. “Our medical staff are on top of it.

“This game [against Germany, tomorrow] is still too early for him, but we’re working on getting him back in this tournament as we said, so once this game is hopefully done successfully we’ll have a good chance to have him back in the team.”

3) Vito Mannone happy at Sunderland

Sunderland stopper Vito Mannone has rubbished claims that he has handed in a transfer request.

Mannone’s future at the Stadium of Light was thrown into question last week, with the Black Cats confirming the transfer of Costel Pantilimon from Manchester City, but the Italian has said today that he is happy on Wearside.

“I have not asked for a transfer and I have no intention of doing so,” Mannone stated. “Why would I?

“I love Sunderland and the Sunderland fans. I enjoyed last season and am looking forward to next season, and hope we can reward the fans by winning something.”

The 26-year-old was voted Sunderland’s player of the season last year, so will still expect to be Gus Poyet’s first choice, despite the increased competition.

4) Jonathan Woodgate dislikes playing in the Championship

Middlesbrough veteran Jonathan Woodgate, insists that he still has unfinished business at the club.

The England international was a key member of the ‘Boro squad which disappointed last season, but he is determined to get the side back to the Premier League, largely due to his dislike of Championship football.

““I really don’t enjoy this league,” the 34-year-old said to the Gazette.

“I want this club to be back playing in the Premier League. That’s what I came back to Boro for.

“I haven’t fulfilled what I wanted to do when I came here. That hurts."

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