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Sunderland and Fulham are locked in battle long before the opening day of the Premier League season as both clubs are hoping to sign Napoli midfielder Walter Gargano, according to the Daily Mail.

The Uruguayan international has made been made for available for transfer having seen a proposed permanent move to Inter Milan fail to materialise after Gargano spent last season on loan at the San Siro. Gargano, thought to be valued at around £6m by the Sardinia side, was believed to be close to a move to Fulham with his agent Alessandro Lucci due to fly to London to discuss the finer details of a deal this week. But Sunderland manager Paolo di Canio, who has already signed nine players this summer as he bids to reshape the side he took over from Martin O’Neill towards the end of last season, is keen to take Gargano to the north east.

The 29 year-old defensive midfielder, who has won 56 caps for his country, has made more than 150 league appearances in six years at Napoli.