Sunderland and Portsmouth are battling it out to sign Plymouth Argyle striker Freddie Ladapo. Richard Mennear of the Sunderland Echo confirmed that the two League One rivals are close to agreeing a fee with Plymouth Argyle. The 26-year-old scored 19 goals last season.
Sunderland and Portsmouth Battle for Freddie Ladapo
Renewing Their Interest
Last season both Sunderland and Portsmouth were battling it out at the top of League One. During the January transfer window, both made attempts to sign Ladapo but failed with bids. The big boys of League One eventually missed out on promotion and both are interested in bolstering their attacking options.
With promotion a priority next season, especially for Sunderland, both are looking for extra firepower. A fee of around £500,000 should be enough to tempt Plymouth to sell.
Successful Season Despite Relegation
Ladapo enjoyed a successful season personally, although his team were eventually relegated to League Two. Signed last summer after being released by Southend, the former Crystal Palace striker enjoyed his best season in front of goal in league football. Ladapo scored 19 goals; however, his tally was not enough to keep Plymouth in League One.
Not Only Sunderland and Portsmouth Interested
It is also reported that other clubs are monitoring the situation. Several Scottish clubs have indicated their interest. Plus, Brentford of the Championship are reportedly long-time admirers. Whether Brentford or any other club are as far into negotiations as Sunderland and Portsmouth is not known. However, it appears that that the League One rivals are the front runners at present.
What Has Been Said
Speaking to Plymouth Live, former Argyle boss Derek Adams said: “I think there will be a number of clubs that will chase his signature because of the manner of the way he plays. He gets himself into goalscoring positions, he’s in the middle of his 20’s and he has been at Crystal Palace. Speaking to Mark Bright (Palace’s director of under-23 development) as I do, I know they had slight reservations about that.”
Speaking to their official website, former Southend manager Chris Powell said: “Freddie had a mixed time here and it was a shame. I think Freddie always needed to go somewhere where he was the main man. He was from East London and knew Southend from previous. I think he just needed a clean slate. Sometimes that’s what strikers are like.”