Sunderland striker David Bellion has revealed he is ready to leave the relegation-threatened Premiership side.

The 20-year-old forward has become frustrated at the lack of first team opportunities since boss Howard Wilkinson took charge, and in recent weeks, the Frenchman has been linked with a move to Manchester United. United’s reserve-team coach Ricky Sbragia

The catalyst for United’s interest is believed to have been the arrival of former Sunderland coach Ricky Sbragia as a reserve team coach at Old Trafford; Sbragia is known to be a big admirer of Bellion.

“My preference would be tostay in England,” Bellion toldÿL’Equipe. “I like it here a lot.

“However, I would like to leave before the transfer window closes because I don’t play very often for Sunderland.”

A spokesman from Sunderland was quick to refute suggestions of a switch to Old Trafford for a player who is oout of contract in the summer.

“The club have seen the speculation in the press but we do not envisage any move for the player in the transfer window,’ he confirmed.

“Furthermore, the player is contracted to the club and it is not in the club’s best interests to allow the player to leave.”