Sunderland transfer news: Alex Neil opens up on window frustration

Alex Neil is cutting an increasingly frustrated figure as Sunderland's search for reinforcements in the transfer window continues.

The club are believed to be in advanced talks with C.S. Herediano to strike a deal for Costa Rican winger Jewison Bennette, though Neil said there was nothing he could discuss about that deal.

'You seem to know more than me', was his response to being told the 18-year-old was reportedly on his way to Wearside to finalise the move.

Neil said after the arrival of Ellis Simms a fortnight ago that he still wanted four or five more signings, and has subsequently watched Dan Ballard pick up a major injury.

Sunderland head coach Alex Neil.

The head coach was asked whether he had knocked on the door of the owner as a result.

“I can’t knock on the door anymore – there’s probably no door there anymore because I’ve pretty much bust it down," he responded.

"Listen, we need to get reinforcements in, and we’re aware of that. It’s been an ongoing discussion, it’s not as though it’s something we’re just talking about now.

"I’ve been saying the same thing every press conference, it’s not as though anything has significantly shifted just now. What does significantly shift is that we’ve lost a key player for a length of time, which makes our job doubly difficult because now we’re lighter in that area where we had strength."

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Neil said that Sunderland's model meant that the club would inevitably be doing business in the final stages of the window: "There’s two different ways of doing it. We’ve made it perfectly clear from day one the way the club is going to be run and the way the model is going to work this season.

"We want it to be sustainable, which means we’re going to spend within our means. There’s two ways of going about the transfer window – you either pull your money out and go ‘Boom, we’ll take him’, or you do what we’re doing, which is you wait and you hope something is going to become available. You hope you land on something that’s going to be right for you.

"There is a domino effect. The season’s just started, and there are a lot of players in limbo at the moment that are potentially missing squads. You’ve got a World Cup coming up, so you’ve got lads that are going to be eager to play in a World Cup and if they’re not starting, they’re going to want a game somewhere else.

"What will eventually happen is it will be a bit of a supermarket sweep at the end.

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"You’ll have three days and everyone will start scrambling about for players. It’s a bit rubbish, isn’t it? But it’s every time. You’d think we would all learn the lesson, but we don’t."

Sunderland have made a solid start to their Championship campaign, unbeaten in three and with five points already on the board.

Neil, though, could not be clearer that he does not feel that is sustainable unless he is backed in the market.

"What we need to understand is, because we were so dominant last year, and I mean that in terms of control of the game rather than the result," Neil said.

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"We've been used to that but now it's a different calibre of opposition.

"We're now coming up against teams who have spent millions of pounds on their players, and we're talking about six or seven of our lads who are playing Championship football for the first time. For these lads to do what they've done in the first three games, I think it's commendable. They've done remarkably well, and we need help, we need more players to give us a hand.

"At the moment, we've got key positions where we're light and arguably have nobody to take the place.

"See all the frailties that everyone sees, or the positions where people think we need to strengthen, I can assure you I've seen it long before anybody. I see it every day. I know exactly what we need to do, but it's not easy to go and do it.

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"What I do have is a great set of lads, who so far we've together had remarkable success," he added.

"We've got out of League One which the club had struggled to do, and went on an unbelievable run to do that.

"We are unbeaten in the league so far this season and put in some really good performances along the way, and all credit to them for that.

"They, equally as much as me, need help now. We need to bring players in to make us more competitive and give us a chance to make changes from the bench to change the games, all of that is so important.

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"We're only at the start of the journey now, once we get a couple of months in, some of these lads are tired or injured... Right now we're at our absolute maximum and I think you can see that at the end of matches, the boys have absolutely run themselves into the ground.

"I can't ask anymore from them, I can't, for what they've done in these games I think they've outdone themselves to be honest.

"I hope the fans appreciate the effort the lads are putting in, and what I can say is we certainly appreciate them because they've been brilliant for us so far."

The stakes are rising as the final fortnight of the window approaches.

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