Sunderland has begun negotiations over possible signing Azerbaijan defender Bahlul Mustafazade in January, according to reports in his home country.
Azerisport claims that Sunderland are in talks with the 22-year-old center-back’s club Sabah over a potential move in the next transfer window.
They also claim that the player himself is keen on the move, with a chance to work with Phil Parkinson particularly appealing. There’s previously been talk of interest in the defender from Celtic, as well as clubs in the top two English tiers and the German Bundesliga. But Sunderland would likely offer Mustafazade a more direct route to their first team, with a plan and hope to reach the Premier League in the future.
Mustafazade only joined Sabah in the summer on a free transfer, but has admitted he is open to a move abroad.
Asked by Azerisport about Sunderland’s interest directly, he responded: “Such news in the media is not the first time. Last season, I have already encountered this. I have no information about a specific proposal, so I think it is inappropriate to say anything about this.
“Now it’s hard for me to say anything about this. My goal is to play abroad. I’ll do what is best for my career.”
Mustafazade has been capped four times by Azerbaijan to date, making his debut in September against Wales after an impressive start to the season at Sabah. But the Azerbaijan club is said to be open to selling the centre-back, who is contracted until 2022.
The potential move is the first sign of Phil Parkinson starting to plan towards the January transfer window as he looks to put his own stamp on the Black Cats’ squad.
The club received an eight-figure sum of investment from the FPP American group last week, although large amounts of that will go towards maintaining and improving infrastructure at the club, and huge splurges in the January transfer window are not expected.