MARTIN O’NEILL remains eager to add to his squad this month despite sealing his second signing of the transfer window.
Kader Mangane completed his loan switch from Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal yesterday, with the Senegalese centre-back arriving until the end of the season before a possible permanent move during the summer.
Mangane follows French Under-21 international Alfred N’Diaye to the Stadium of Light this month, with O’Neill strengthening his two priority positions of centre-half and central midfield.
But O’Neill is conscious that his squad remains thin and wants to ensure the Black Cats’ improvement is not halted by injuries, with Swansea striker Danny Graham remaining on the Sunderland manager’s wish-list.
O’Neill told the Echo: “I’m loathe to say we’ve got momentum going, but we’ve won four of the last seven and tonight we want to remain in the FA Cup.
“On February 1, whatever you’ve got left, that’s it and we’re still short here on players.
“Every side has had their injuries this season so we want to make some provisions for those things happening to us.
“They will be inevitable over the next few months.”
O’Neill admits his pursuit of Mangane has not been a lengthy one, unlike the capture of N’Diaye.
The 29-year-old emerged as a possible target after asking to leave Al-Hilal following his move from French outfit Rennes last summer.
Sunderland were aware of Mangane during his time in France, with the 6ft 5in defender’s performances attracting the attention of West Ham and Arsenal. And with injury concerns over Sunderland central defensive trio Wes Brown, John O’Shea and Carlos Cuellar, Mangane provided a stop-gap solution.
“We’ve had loads of reports and seen loads of his games for Rennes,” said O’Neill.
“But it would be untrue to say I’ve been tracking him for long, unlike Alfred, who I’ve been monitoring all season. We need a bit of help, some short-term help.
“If there’s somebody who you feel will do a job and improve the team for a couple of years, I’ve no problem with signing those players in January and paying extra for them.
“But you can also look for short-term loans for people who might want to prove a point.
“We’re a bit short at centre-back. Wes is still not fit and you’re never sure about John. You don’t want to be short and the lad wanted to come.”
As is the case with all overseas loan arrivals, there is a clause built into the deal to make the arrangement permanent next summer if Mangane impresses.
But O’Neill stresses that the 23-time Senegal international must prove his worth in the Premier League before a longer stay can be considered.
He added: “In any of these short-term deals, there’s always an option at the end.
“But let’s see how he does first.
“He obviously wants to come here, it’s the Premiership, and he wants to have a go.”