Sam Allardyce admits Sunderland could bring in more than their two planned signings in the January transfer window.
But an injury blow to Younes Kaboul will NOT alter Allardyce’s thinking over fresh blood, with a new centre-half already at the top of the Sunderland manager’s wish-list.
Sunderland’s priorities for the window are to bring in a centre-forward and centre-half, with the latter position becoming even more pressing after Kaboul was ruled out for several weeks with a hamstring problem.
Kaboul tore his hamstring in last weekend’s defeat at Chelsea, to leave John O’Shea and Sebastian Coates as near-certain starters for Boxing Day’s clash at Manchester City, with only veteran Wes Brown and youngster Tom Beadling in reserve.
However, if second-bottom Sunderland are able to offload players next month, then that could prompt further acquisitions to boost the Black Cats’ survival bid.
Allardyce said: “I still think we’d have wanted a centre-half (if Kaboul had not been injured), because sometimes we’ll play with a back three.
“If you’re going to strengthen, it’s got to be the core of the team first of all.
“Who might leave, who knows?
“Some of the players might not play as much as they want and say they’re not happy. Does somebody else want them?
“A bit of trading might be the case, so you end up bringing in more than you think.
“It’s a balance of the quality of the player, financial package, a desire to come.
“It will change week in, week out. All of a sudden, a player will pop up that you didn’t think was available and might want to come.
“You have an opportunity so you need to be able to strike as quickly as you can.”
However, the absence of Kaboul does leave Sunderland’s squad stretched over the festive period.
Seb Larsson and Lee Cattermole have missed the last three games through injury, Jack Rodwell is suspended against Manchester City on Saturday and forgotten man Adam Matthews has torn his ankle ligaments.
And with the squad depleted over the busy festive period, Allardyce is hoping to bring in players at the start of the window.
Allardyce added: “We’ve got our finger on the pulse with negotiations in a lot of areas – various positions, various players who are available.
“Those processes are being done here and now and have been done for the last few days in the hope that we can pull one off in the early stages of January.
“If not, then we certainly want to get two players by the back end of January to help us in our push to get out of the bottom three.”