Sam Allardyce has returned to the UK from Sunderland’s pre-season training camp in Austria to fast-track talks with a transfer target – as Danny Simpson was linked with the Black Cats.
The Sunderland squad enjoyed a day off at their base in the Alps yesterday, with Allardyce taking the opportunity to return to these shores in a bid to end the Black Cats’ search for a breakthrough in the transfer market.
The Sunderland boss had flown out to Austria later than the rest of his squad last week because of the overwhelming need to bring in fresh faces.
And while Allardyce has been regularly liaising with head of recruitment Martin Glover and new chief executive Martin Bain during Sunderland’s time on the Continent, he has returned to the UK to help in the pursuit of fresh faces.
Sunderland have been linked with a £4million move for ex-loanee Simpson – just two months after he lifted the Premier League title.
The Black Cats’ search for a new right-back is becoming ever more pressing after a deal for Inter Milan’s Davide Santon collapsed at the 11th hour last week.
I have to admit myself that my patience is wearing thin.
Speculation today has suggested that Leicester defender Simpson could be an option for Sunderland, nine years after his loan spell at the Stadium of Light helped Roy Keane’s side to promotion from the Championship.
Despite being a key part of Leicester’s title-winning side, Simpson only has 12 months remaining on his contract with the Foxes.
And that could open the door for the 29-year-old – who worked under Sam Allardyce at Blackburn – to leave in a cut-price deal.
Simpson was unbeaten in a Sunderland shirt during his 14 appearances for the Black Cats in the 2006-07 campaign after getting his first taste of Premier League football in a loan move from Manchester United.
Allardyce has clearly grown frustrated with Sunderland’s inability to add to a squad which secured Premier League survival by a whisker last season.
Allardyce even admitted his impatience over the lack of signings in a club website interview after a move for Davide Santon fell through last week.
“I have to admit myself that my patience is wearing thin, but we have to keep trying to bring in those three or four players as quickly as possible,” he said.
Allardyce is looking for five or six additions, with a right-back and a striker of utmost importance to the Sunderland manager.