Sunderland want to sign Papiss Cisse

O'Neill faces uphill task to sign Senegal striker Cisse in transfer window

Martin O'Neill has stepped up his search for a new striker after turning his attention to Freiburg frontman Papiss Cisse.

Sunderland's new boss has identified his frontline as an area that needs dramatic improvement and believes the Senegal international fits the bill.

But O'Neill faces a race against time to complete the deal before the end of the transfer window.

Duty: Papiss Cisse (left) is representing Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations

Duty: Papiss Cisse (left) is representing Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations

Cisse, 26, is currently on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations and is unlikely to return to his German club before end of the month.

And that may convince the Black Cats to turn their attention elsewhere, with Fulham's Bobby Zamora a reported target.

In need: Martin O'Neill watched his Sunderland side draw a blank at Chelsea

In need: Martin O'Neill watched his Sunderland side draw a blank at Chelsea

If O'Neill does follow up his interest in Cisse, Freiburg will demand 10 million for the striker who has scored nine goals this season despite his club's battle with relegation.

Newcastle, Tottenham, Fulham and Blackburn are also interested in Cisse.