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EDITIONS

Monday, 12 August, 2002, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Black Cats agree Piper fee
Raul Tamudo is Sunderland's big new hope

Under-fire Sunderland manager Peter Reid has agreed a fee for highly-rated Leicester midfielder Matthew Piper.

The 20-year-old made a big impression for the Foxes in their unsuccessful battle against relegation last season and Sunderland have agreed to pay between 2.5m and 3m for him.

The Sunderland boss is under immense pressure from his own fans before the season has even got underway and will hope the signing of Piper can appease his critics.

Reid is also poised to sign Espanyol striker Raul Tamudo for 8.5m and Liverpool defender Stephen Wright in a 1.5m deal.

The Black Cats are believed to be close to signing 24-year-old Tamudo, with French misfit Lilian Laslandes moving in the opposite direction.

Liverpool defender Stephen Wright could cost Sunderland 1.5m
Stephen Wright could cost Sunderland 1.5m

Tamudo has been linked with Sunderland throughout the summer, but the club have decided to make a decisive move after failing to land Leeds United's Robbie Keane and Chelsea front man Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Reid has been desperately trying to recruit a new partner for Kevin Phillips for the last two seasons.

If Sunderland sign Tamudo, it will smash their existing transfer record of 4.5m, paid for both Brazilian defender Emerson Thome and United States skipper Claudio Reyna.

With Tamudo relatively unknown in England and Wright and Piper having limited Premiership experience, the most vociferous members of the anti-Reid brigade may still have their doubts about the manager.

But an investment of 10m-plus in three players just days before the start of the new season will answer those who have accused both he and the club of a lack of ambition.

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