Sunderland boss still hopes to add to squad in January as Slaven Bilic refuses to rule out move for Jermain Defoe

Sunderland manager David Moyes.
Sunderland manager David Moyes.
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David Moyes retains hope that Sunderland will be able to do some business and add to the squad in January after speaking with owner Ellis Short.

Sunderland’s January transfer business will be very limited given the constraints of the £140million debt and the Premier League financial fair play restrictions around wages.

But Moyes - whose squad has been hit hard by injuries plus the added complication of Africa Cup of Nations departures - hasn't completely ruled out making any signings.

And Moyes has also revealed that he hasn't heard anything from any rival Premier League teams said to be interested in making a move for Sunderland's key assets next month.

Jordan Pickford - out for up to eight weeks with a knee injury - has been linked with Arsenal and Manchester United, while Crystal Palace and West Ham United are keeping tabs on Lamine Kone.

It comes as Hammers boss Slaven Bilic has refused to rule out a move for Jermain Defoe - who Moyes has no intention of selling after labelling him 'priceless.'

When asked if he had heard of any interest in his players, Moyes said: "As the manager of Sunderland I have not heard one word from any club regarding interest in any of my players.

"I would expect I would have heard something and I have not.

"As far as I am concerned it is not the case.

"And you know, if people do then it shows we are doing something right in that they are interested in our players.

"The other thing is, I have always been an expensive seller."

When asked if he expects that to be the only way that there would be any sort of manoeuvring in January in terms of new arrivals, Moyes revealed he has spoken with Short.

He said: "I have spoken with the owner and I think there is a chance that maybe we could look to try and do things if the right things turn up.

"So, we can only look and see."

Wage restrictions mean Sunderland can’t even make a loan signing unless wages are freed up by moving on players, after chief executive Martin Bain revealed the bleak financial picture.

In recent weeks Sunderland have been linked with moves for several free agents including former Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur striker Dimitar Berbatov and ex-Everton defender Joleon Lescott - who Moyes worked with at Goodison Park.

Moyes admits those two are not set to arrive but added he won't rule out moves for players that would improve the squad.

"Not really," said Moyes when asked about any interest in the pair.

"I know Joleon well so I could consider him but the answer is probably not.

"But I would never say never if I could get people in who could help us."

West Ham have been strongly linked with a £6million move to bring Defoe back to the Hammers when the window opens next week.

Bilic was asked about the speculation at his pre-match press conference and said: "He's a very good player. Defoe is scoring goals and that is important.

"I have a few midfielders from different countries telling me his movement is the best of strikers they have played with.

"He's someone else's player so I don't want to talk about it."

Moyes has previously told the Echo that eight-goal top scorer Defoe is not for sale as he is too important to the club's survival hopes.