Sam Allardyce jets to Europe on last-gasp scouting mission

Sam Allardyce and his scouting team have made a final check on Sunderland's targets, ahead of the last week of the January transfer window.

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce

Allardyce wants to bring in two fresh faces over the next seven days to boost Sunderland’s dwindling hopes of remaining in the Premier League after the weekend’s results increased the gap with the safety mark to four points.

Sunderland have considered a host of possible signings so far this month, but only Jan Kirchhoff and Dame N’Doye have arrived at the Stadium of Light, along with back-up keeper Steve Harper.

But Allardyce headed to the Continent yesterday to watch a potential new recruit and will discuss his findings with the Black Cats scouting team over the next 24 hours.

Allardyce said: “I was off yesterday morning somewhere in Europe, as well as the other scouts.

“We’ll meet up today and tomorrow, and try to nail the targets we need to nail.

“Every waking hour for everybody on recruitment is to look at as many players as we possibly can.

“At the moment, because of technology, you can look at footage of all players from all games throughout Europe.

“Then we can send someone out.

“I headed out yesterday, as did most of the scouts.

“We were all looking at specific targets to make a final judgement on.”

Sunderland have been active in their attempts to negotiate a deal for Swansea forward Andre Ayew, yet the Welsh club have been adamant that the Ghana international will not be sold after he again proved his worth yesterday, with the winning goal at Everton.

Allardyce is also understood to remain keen to sign another right-back after reports in France that Sunderland have made a fresh approach for Lorient’s Lamine Gassama, who rejected the Black Cats’ advances earlier this month.

But Allardyce knows that Sunderland require an injection of quality into their ranks, particularly with a daunting month of fixtures ahead against both Manchester clubs, Liverpool and West Ham.

“We have to get more players if we can, of the right quality that can help us in this fight to escape the bottom three,” added Allardyce.

“My job is to strengthen the side even more in the market before it shuts, and increase the quality of the squad going forwards to give us a better chance to get out of trouble.

“These players are beginning to increase their level of output and are working harder for each other.

“But we haven’t got quite as many results as we wanted.

“We’re trying to do the right things to put that right.

“We’ve got to get the points from somewhere and, with the games running out, it’s perhaps going to have to be against one of the big boys.

“In all fairness, we’ve shown signs, particularly Tottenham, that that might be something we can achieve.”