Sunderland face a race against time to make crucial additions to their squad, writes Phil Smith.
The transfer window slams shut tomorrow night, and, with Patrick van Aanholt’s move to Selhurst Park imminent, the Black Cats are without a recognised senior left-back for the visit of in-form Tottenham Hotspur.
Newly signed Joleon Lescott could fill in that slot, as could Billy Jones or loanee Manquillo. However, manager David Moyes is keen to add to that department.
The Black Cats have been pursuing a number of targets, with Bordeaux’s Diego Contento and Swansea’s Neil Taylor thought to have been considered.
However, fresh reports suggest that Welsh international Taylor is unwilling to swap one relegation fight for another and would favour a move to Championship side Aston Villa.
Bryan Oviedo is another name to be heavily linked, but his departure from Everton would need a u-turn from Goodison Park boss Ronald Koeman, who has been keen to keep him as back-up to Leighton Baines.
Moyes will also look to sign a target man in order to compensate for the loss of Victor Anichebe to a long-term knee injury.
Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa could be the man to fill that void, having handed in a transfer request last week.
The Argentinian is a player long admired on Wearside and is currently fifth choice at the Foxes, behind Jamie Vardy, Islam Slimani, Shinji Okazaki and Ahmed Musa.
A key part of their stunning title victory last year, Ulloa appeared to a confirm a departure was imminent, taking to social media on Saturday night to say, “Thanks to all the fans at LCFC. Two wonderful years but I need to feel like a footballer again.”
However, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has warned that the the 30-year-old will not be sold on the cheap.
The Italian said: “I want him because he is a good player. Of course he would like to play more, but I have said from the beginning unhappy players can leave.
“But the team and the club are also important. For this reason, I sold Jeffrey Schlupp and Luis Hernandez because there were good offers.
“If somebody wants Leo they will have to pay. They have to pay because he is a good player and that is it.”
Leicester are thought to value the former Brighton striker at £11million, and the Black Cats face a fight to try to drive down that price.
Meanwhile, Besiktas midfielder Tolgay Arslan – who had been linked with a January move to the Stadium of Light – has confirmed he has no intention of leaving this month.
Speaking to the Turkish press, he said: “I would like to thank the clubs interested in me.
“My priority is Besiktas.”