Sunderland close in on signing as Welsh international is in frame

Ethan Ampadu
Ethan Ampadu

Sunderland remain confident of securing their first January signing in the coming days - as Chris Coleman targets committed players who can handle the pressure.

The Black Cats had hoped to include a new face in the squad for today’s FA Cup third round tie with Middlesbrough at the Riverside (KO 1pm).

But Sunderland were dealt a blow when the loan deal, believed to be for a youngster at a Premier League side, was pushed back.

The deal is still very much on but the Gazette has learned the player in question is likely to be used by his parent club this weekend after his manager decided to include the player in his squad.

The Echo understands the deal is likely to go through either later this weekend or early next week.

Exciting Liverpool prospect Ben Woodburn is not thought to be the player Coleman had hoped to land on Friday. The 18-year-old forward does though remain a firm target for Sunderland.

Coleman is known to have made with contact with Chelsea over the availability of some of their younger players.

One option could be promising Chelsea and Wales star Ethan Ampadu. Coleman gave the 17-year-old his international debut in November.

The defensive midfielder is highly rated by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte but he could be allowed out on loan to further his development and Coleman knows the former Exeter City man well.

Despite his tender years Ampadu has already made four appearances for Chelsea and is involved in their FA Cup squad for their game against Norwich City this evening.

Coleman is hoping to sign up to five new players this month in a bid to breathe fresh energy into the battle for survival with Sunderland bottom of the Championship.

Coleman hasn’t been used to the frantic nature of the transfer window having managed Wales for six years - but he has outlined the type of characters he wants to attract.

“Ask me at the end of the window [whether I enjoy it],” said Coleman.

“If I’ve got what I wanted, and that the loan deals we’ve been chasing come off.

“All I want is a committed, honest group of players who are excited to be here and embrace the pressure, ‘let’s have a go at it’.

“So at the end of the window when I know what we’ve got you can say ‘OK, let’s go for it’.

“At the moment there is a bit of toing and froing, ‘does he really want to be here or doesn’t he?’ ‘Are we going to get this kid or not’.

“I’m not been used to it for a while but I also know that it can really help us.”

Coleman’s squad is in desperate need of strengthening, with injury concerns over 13 players ahead of the game against Boro.

Sunderland’s business will focus on loan signings this month with the Black Cats only able to make permanent additions if players leave first, with Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong the most saleable assets.