GUS POYET is prepared to throw any last-minute signings into Sunderland’s opening day clash at West Brom - if they can prove their fitness.
The Sunderland boss confirmed after Saturday’s final pre-season friendly against Udinese that he was expecting further arrivals at the Stadium of Light this week before next weekend’s Premier League curtain-raiser at the Hawthorns.
Poyet refused to be drawn on the identity of those potential signings, or put a number on how many players will be added to the six fresh faces who Sunderland have already brought to the club this summer.
Sunderland still have a £14million bid on the table for Liverpool striker Fabio Borini, while they have been heavily linked with a loan move for Manchester City midfielder Bruno Zuculini and are interested in Leeds full-back Sam Byram.
There was also talk last night that Sunderland have made a fresh approach for Brighton winger Will Buckley - the subject of a failed offer from the Black Cats in the January window.
But if Sunderland can add to their ranks before the trip to West Brom, Poyet says those new boys could be in contention for a place in the starting line-up, if their fitness levels are up to scratch.
“They could be involved, but it depends how many games they’ve played during pre-season,” said Poyet.
“Let’s say it was Jozy Altidore coming in this week after playing just one game. You’re not going to start him.
“So it will depend on the player really.”
He added: “I don’t want to say how many players (could arrive this week) because people will throw it back at me, but I am expecting more signings before the season starts.
“There’s no more news just yet though. We are still working on it.”
There are likely to be outgoings, as well as incomings, before next Saturday too.
Reports yesterday indicated that Swedish winger David Moberg Karlsson is close to returning to Scandinavia with Danish side FC Nordsjaelland.
Ex-director of football Roberto De Fanti splashed out £1.5m to sign Moberg Karlsson last summer, yet the 20-year-old has been told he is not part of Poyet’s plans.
But Alfred N’Diaye’s return to Real Betis has been thrown into doubt, with sources in Spain indicating that the Senegal international is struggling to agree personal terms.
The Echo reported last week how Sunderland had accepted an improved offer from Betis for N’Diaye, who has also attracted interest from La Liga outfit Celta Vigo, plus an unnamed Turkish club.
But Betis, who signed N’Diaye on loan in the January transfer window, are considering other targets after discussions with the 24-year-old failed to reach an agreement.
Poyet used both N’Diaye and up-for-sale Danny Graham from the bench on Saturday, and says those who are surplus to requirements know the situation.
He added: “There are plenty of people interested in Alfred. We need to wait and see.
“We just need to see what happens before the end of the month.
“It’s unfair to say everything to the press, but the players know themselves where they are standing.
“My idea is to have a squad with the right balance and the quantity for each position.
“We need to achieve that before September 1. The rest we will see.”