Sunderland hunting for loan moves unless there are further outgoings

Ross McCormack.
Ross McCormack.

Simon Grayson is hoping to strengthen his forward line on the final day of the transfer window.

Ross McCormack is the favourite to arrive on a loan deal ahead of the 11pm deadline tonight, with Aston Villa keen to offload their £12million signing from last summer.

Grayson is looking to make further additions today

Grayson is looking to make further additions today

The Black Cats have been tracking his availability since Grayson’s arrival on Wearside and remain hopeful of getting a deal over the line.

With interest from elsewhere and a complicated financial settlement to be concluded, however, Sunderland are pursuing a number of potential deals.

Grayson is a firm admirer of Sheffield Wednesday striker Jordan Rhodes and Preston’s Jordan Hugill, though the latter is set to stay at Deepdale after seeing a transfer request rejected on Tuesday.

A striker is a priority for Grayson, who is set to free up room on his wage bill by allowing Wahbi Khazri to leave on loan. He has also begun exploring options to strengthen his defence in the loan market.

With a lack of permanent offers on the table, Sunderland have become open to a short-term deal for Khazri. Grayson has insisted all summer that he will move on any players who do not want to play for the club.

Khazri arrived in France yesterday for talks with Ligue 1 side Rennes, who are expected to cover the Tunisian’s wages for the season.

Other Sunderland incomings are likely to depend on further outgoings from the first-team squad.

The squad is lacking depth, but the Black Cats would not stand in the way of further exits, providing there is time to secure replacements.

With the likes of Jack Rodwell not attracting interest from potential suitors, and set to stay at the club past the end of the window, the most likely candidates to depart remain Didier Ndong and Lamine Kone.

The Black Cats have not fielded any bids for the pair but would be open to selling should their asking price be met.

Grayson insisted last week that the club would not be forced to sell in the final hours of the window.

He said: “Speaking to Martin, we’ll make the decision on what is best for the football club. If we get good value for money, we’ll probably sell players, if we don’t have a replacement lined up, we’re probably in a position where we don’t have to do it.

“That’s something that happened with the club last year, when Lamine was perhaps going to go to Everton but there was no replacement lined up.

“We’ve got a list of targets, which was updated and put on my desk this morning.

“They’re all ready to go, to make the phonecalls – if anyone goes hopefully we’ve done enough work already to be prepared and have these things lined up.

“There’s a value with a lot of our players – you don’t give them away cheaply.

“Somebody might come in for a player that’s not been mentioned, not just the likes of Didier who have been mentioned in the press.”