Unless Sunderland can generate some funds and free up wages then David Moyes will be window shopping only in January.
The bleak financial picture was laid bare earlier this month by chief executive Martin Bain, with business likely to be “very limited” when the transfer window opens.
Reinforcements are needed though given the chronic – and mounting – injury problems facing Moyes’ threadbare squad.
One option is to sell some of the players already on the books in order to finance new faces.
Easier said than done, but we take a look at those players that could be moved on in January:
Everton wanted Kone in the summer, the Toffees tabling an £18million offer for the Ivory Coast international.
Sunderland weren’t keen on selling him, with Kone penning an improved deal to remain on Wearside.
Crystal Palace, Everton and West Ham United all remain keen on Kone, who is set to miss a chunk of the campaign.
Kone has been called up for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations and could miss as many as six Sunderland fixtures should Ivory Coast reach the final in early February.
The 27-year-old has a £25million release clause so would cost potential suitors big bucks.
Jordan Pickford/Vito Mannone:
Bain made clear he had no desire to sell any of the club’s main assets, with Moyes looking to build a team at Sunderland.
But the chief executive also acknowledged transfer windows are unpredictable and he would speak to Moyes if a potential sale meant money available to strengthen in other areas.
Pickford is the club’s biggest asset but the 22-year-old is facing a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, which effectively rules out him leaving Wearside next month.
Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United are among the clubs monitoring Pickford.
Meanwhile, Mannone has been linked with Aston Villa and a move back to Italy with Palermo but given he is set for a run in the side a January exit won’t happen.
Khazri made a big impact when he joined in January but the former Bordeaux man clearly isn’t fancied by Moyes.
The 25-year-old has made 10 league appearances this season but only four starts.
The Tunisian will also be away on Africa Cup of Nations duty and it would be no surprise to see him depart the Stadium of Light. Spanish side Espanyol are monitoring his situation.
The 29-year-old Dutch winger is currently on a season-long loan at Turkish giants Fenerbahce, impressing with three goals since arriving in September.
Out of favour under Moyes, Sunderland could attempt to try and cash in on Lens next month in order to boost their transfer kitty.
Ex-Dynamo Kiev winger Lens doesn’t have a future on Wearside. It seems just a question of when he leaves and how much of the £8million they can recoup.
The 26-year-old Uruguayan centre-back is enjoying a purple patch on loan this season.
Coates joined Sporting Lisbon on an 18-month loan deal in January and has impressed, making 21 appearances and scoring three goals.
The Portuguese outfit have the option to make the deal permanent in the summer but Italians AC Milan are also interested.
A January bidding war for his services would suit Sunderland, freeing up wages and bringing some much-needed funds in.