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Sunderland join race to sign Wells

Hot property: Wells is believed to have attracted the interest of several top-flight clubs

Sunderland are the latest Barclays Premier League side to be linked with a move for Nahki Wells.

Wells, who turns 26 next month, has also attracted the interest of Southampton, according to reports in the English media, after finishing as Huddersfield Town’s top scorer in the Sky Bet Championship with 18 goals this season.

Sam Allardyce, the Sunderland manager, will be keen to avoid another season fighting relegation and could turn to Wells, one of the most prolific strikers outside the top flight, in an effort to boost the Wearsiders’s firepower.

Huddersfield are keen to keep Wells at the John Smith’s Stadium, with the Bermuda striker an integral part of David Wagner’s plans, although a big-money offer may tempt the club to cash in on their prized asset.

Dean Hoyle, the Huddersfield chairman, told the Huddersfield Examiner last month that the continued interest in Wells was unsurprising considering his goal-scoring form during the second-half of the campaign.

“Nahki has two years left on his contract, we want him and David Wagner wants him,” said Hoyle, who sanctioned the Wells purchase in January 2014.

“As a club, we have no financial need to sell, and Nahki is happy and settled here.

“Of course he has aspirations to play at the highest level he can, and every player should have.

“But we think he can really help us push on, and hopefully Nahki does too.”

Wells, the club-record £1.3 million signing from League One Bradford City, missed Huddersfield’s final game of the season at home to Brentford because of a knee injury.

He is scheduled to return to the island during the off-season, although it appears he is unlikely to risk further injury by playing in Bermuda’s Caribbean Cup second-round matches.

“I am confident that with the rest Nahki can now take, it will clear up by pre-season,” said Wagner, the Huddersfield head coach, before his side were beaten 5-1 by Brentford.

Wells has not played for Bermuda since last year’s World Cup first-round qualifier against Bahamas, scoring three goals in his country’s 8-0 aggregate win.

He pulled out of Bermuda’s second-round matches against Guatemala in June last year after injuring his left ankle during a training session at the North Field.

Despite the loss of their best player, Bermuda achieved a 0-0 draw in the away leg against Guatemala but crashed out of the qualifiers with a 1-0 defeat at home.

Bermuda will have to play both their Caribbean Cup second-round matches away from home after Dominican Republic refused to move their fixture to June 7.

The Bermuda Football Association has been given until Thursday to come up with a suitable neutral venue to host the game, the team’s second in group four, which must be within the Concacaf region.

If the BFA cannot find a venue they may be forced to forfeit the game by the Caribbean Football Union, which would then render their first game against French Guiana on June 1 meaningless.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, June 4 at the National Stadium, the BFA had asked the CFU to switch the Dominican Republic game to the Tuesday because the stadium is unavailable on that date.

The Atlantic Cup, a rugby fixture between English Aviva Premiership side Harlequins and the Bermuda Barbarians, is already scheduled to be held on the Saturday.

The second round of the Caribbean Cup will involve five groups, with the winners and four best runners-up advancing to the third round to be held from October 3 to 9.

Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago have received a bye to the third round because of their involvement in World Cup qualifying matches.