POSITIVE injury news on Lee Cattermole is likely to scupper any last-gasp transfer moves from Sunderland, short of the Black Cats receiving an “incredible” offer for any of their players.
Boss Gus Poyet has stressed that he expects Jermain Defoe to be the one and only new arrival at the Stadium of Light during the January transfer window, and that still looks to be the case ahead of the deadline.
Sunderland still have one Premier League loan available to them, but with the club close to its Financial Fair Play limits and Poyet happy with the squad, it is highly likely that there won’t be any last-gasp arrivals.
Had midfielder Cattermole been facing a sustained spell on the sidelines, it could have prompted Sunderland to make a late move in the transfer market.
But Poyet is hopeful that the 26-year-old, who is yet to play in 2015 due to groin and knee problems, will be back in the fold within three weeks after seeing a specialist on Friday.
Poyet said: “It is decent news on Lee. I was a little bit nervous. We were ready for the worst.
“It was important we had clarification before the transfer window finished.
“If it had been bad news and a long-term injury maybe we would have had to move quickly.
“He’ll rest for four or five days and then slowly start training. The specialist is positive he will be back without any problems.”
Since Defoe’s signing, Sunderland have been working to offload those considered surplus to requirements, principally Cabral and Greek international Charis Mavrias.
Mavrias put the finishing touches to a return to Panathinaikos over the weekend and a loan until the end of the season is due to be confirmed by both clubs.
The 20-year-old, a £2million arrival at the Stadium of Light 18 months ago, was watched by scouts from Celtic and the Championship last week, but has opted to return to Panathinaikos, despite a more lucrative offer from another interested party.
But Poyet says any further departures – which would inevitably prompt Sunderland to consider replacements – will not be welcomed.
“I hope I have the same squad after the transfer window shuts,” he said.
“People are telling me to switch my phone off and not read my emails because that’s the only thing that can change it – an unexpected, incredible offer for one of my players.
“If it was impossible to say no, that’s different.”