Sunderland boss weighs up signing of free agent strikers

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce will consider any strikers available on the Bosman market, IF they can make an immediate impact for Sunderland.

Nigerian international Chinedu Obasi was on trial at the Academy of Light last week, before Sunderland decided against furthering their interest in the ex-Schalke man, who had made just 10 league starts in an injury-hit three years.

Our judgment is that you have to be able to see him make an impact now, not two or three months down the line

Sam Allardyce

But Allardyce – linked with his former West Ham striker Carlton Cole before he signed for Celtic last week – will continue to keep an open mind over any out-of-contract players who can strengthen his options in the front three.

There is one place available in Sunderland’s squad for a free agent after the Black Cats registered 24 out of a possible 25 players with the Premier League at the end of the summer transfer window.

However, with the January window now just two months away, Allardyce will only consider Bosman recruits who are able to make an immediate contribution.

Allardyce told the Echo: “(We’re interested in) anywhere across the front three.

“Anybody with a bit more pace, or a bit more of an eye for a goal, if you can find one at this stage of the season.

“But our judgment is that you have to be able to see him make an impact now, not two or three months down the line.”

A new frontman will be at the top of Allardyce’s wish-list in January, with Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham both out-of-contract next summer, and question marks over Jermain Defoe’s future at the Stadium of Light.

However, QPR striker Charlie Austin – linked with Sunderland over recent weeks – looks an unlikely option after the 26-year-old stressed this week that he will not leave Loftus Road until the summer, when his contract expires.

“I can’t see myself leaving in January, because I’m concentrating on playing for QPR,” said Austin.

“I think I owe it them and my loyalty is with them, to help them and get promoted.”

Sunderland will also be on the look-out for defensive recruits, to boost a back-line that shipped 18 goals during the opening eight games, albeit the Black Cats registered their first clean sheet in last weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby.

Swiss centre-half Leo Lacroix was linked to a £4million move to Sunderland from French side Sion yesterday, with the 6ft 5in defender also on Leicester and Crystal Palace’s radar.

Sunderland scouts were at Sion’s 1-0 win at Bordeaux last weekend, although it is unclear whether Lacroix was the player on their radar.