Martin O’Neill has revealed that the club are exploring the possibility of signing full-back Danny Rose permanently from Tottenham Hotspur.
Rose, 22, initially joined the club on loan in the summer and has been one of the few bright spots for the Black Cats in what has been a difficult league campaign.
After another credible performance during Saturday’s defeat to Chelsea, O’Neill confirmed his intention to sign the player as well as Rose’s desire to remain with the club.
“He’s really been excellent for us and he’s improving as well,” O’Neill said. “There is that possibility [he will sign permanently]. He wants to remain at the football club and that is encouraging.”
Clearly a popular member among his team-mates, O’Neill felt universal acceptance from the home crowd was the greatest display of how admired Rose is on Wearside, describing his form this season as ‘outstanding’.
“If he went back to Tottenham, particularly with [Benoit Assou] Ekotto getting fit again, the chances are he wouldn’t play that often, so it’s certainly worth a look at anyway,” he said.
“He would love to stay here. He’s got on terrifically well with everyone. The players have taken to him, everybody has taken to him. Most importantly, the crowd have taken to him and rightly so because he has been absolutely outstanding. I always felt he had that potential, but he’s playing remarkably well.”
O’Neill also took positives from the performance of winger Adam Johnson - who he believes is edging closer towards his best after netting his second league goal of the season.
“I felt there were signs out there that Adam is coming back to his best," he added. "He was having a go at players, taking on Ashley Cole at times and that goal will give him a boost as well and that is important.”
“There were clear signs that he’s coming back to the form we all know he’s capable of, but he must maintain that.”