Sunderland join race to sign Celtic-linked midfielder Ahmad Benali

Sunderland are reportedly interested in signing Brescia midfielder Ahmad Benali.

Sunderland are this season's draw specialists in the Premier League, with 11 from their first 20 games - by far the most in the division.

Gus Poyet's men sit just three points clear of the relegation zone, and in a bid to ensure their Premier League status, the Black Cats are expected to make signings during this month's transfer window.

Celtic's Dutch centre back Virgil van Dijk has been strongly linked with an £8m move, and Sunderland could frustrate the Bhoys again by pursuing Ahmad Benali.

The former Manchester City trainee left England in 2012 to join Italian side Brescia, and his performances are now attracting interest.

The 22-year-old Libyan international is known to be a technically gifted midfielder with decent athleticism, and whilst Italian tams have been linked with him, a move back to Britain could be on the cards.

The Manchester-born star has been linked with Celtic this week with Ronny Deila's men set to miss out on the signing of United States international Mix Diskerud.

However, Celtic could now miss out on Benali, with Sunderland joining the race and eyeing up a potential bargain with the player's contract set to expire this summer.

Benali's agent has reportedly asked Brescia to grant the player a free transfer having not been paid for months, and with the club enduring financial difficulties, a small fee may be needed to prise Benali away and bring him back to English football, in Sunderland's case.

Poyet has the likes of Lee Cattermole, Liam Bridcutt and Jack Rodwell in his ranks, but with Cabral expected to leave the club, more depth may be needed - which is where Benali would come in.

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