Could Sunderland rival Newcastle for Algerian striker?

NEWCASTLE UNITED have shown an interest in Algerian striker Ishak Belfodil but could face strong competition from Wear-Tyne rivals Sunderland.

The Magpies are keen to make one or two additions to the squad in the January transfer window even if they will not be rushed in to anything.

Newcastle's promising start to the campaign has put them in a position of strength ahead of the month-long opening for incoming and outgoing deals.

But, despite reputed interest in Yohan Cabaye from Paris St Germain and Liverpool, manager Alan Pardew is keen for director of football Joe Kinnear to strengthen rather than weaken his squad.

That has led to fresh consideration made towards bringing in a new forward if the price was right and it is understood Belfodil has been discussed by the club's recruitment team.

Sunderland, though, are also well aware of the Algerian through the club's links to Italy through director of football Roberto De Fanti and chief scout Valentino Angeloni.

Belfodil, 21, a former French youth international, has had a lack of playing time at Inter Milan since leaving Parma last summer in a £6m deal and fears his World Cup spot for his country could be in doubt if he does not play more.

De Fanti is also looking at ways of bolstering Gus Poyet's options next month, knowing fresh faces are required to give Sunderland's Premier League survival fight a boost.

Belfodil said: “I would obviously like to play more often as the World Cup is coming up and I’ve got to be in good shape. The transfer window (January) is approaching so I’ll talk with the directors and see what is happening.

“I’m happy at Inter but Halihodzic (Algeria coach) has made clear that I’ve got to play and that is why I am considering my options – the transfer market could throw up a solution.”

Belfodil joined Inter after scoring eight league goals in 22 starts for Parma. He has, though, only started once since heading for the San Siro.

Another contender in the Newcastle squad already who could depart in January is defender Steven Taylor.

But Taylor, interesting .QPR after falling out of favour on Tyneside, has recovered from a hamstring problem and expects to play in the Under-21s game against Norwich City at Whitley Park tomorrow. Both Sylvain Marveaux and Jonas Gutierrez could also be given some match action.

Newcastle's teenage striker Adam Armstong, meanwhile, was at the double to help secure an attractive FA Cup Youth Cup fourth round tie with Sunderland.

The England Under-17 front-man's goals came in the second half to earn a 2-1 win over Barnsley, who did pull one back in stoppage-time.

Sunderland will now travel to Tyneside on January 25.

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