Sam Allardyce has turned his attentions to bringing in a new striker after completing a deal for centre-half Jan Kirchhoff.
And the Echo understands that a right-back is also on the radar for Sunderland, with those two positions now the priority for the Black Cats in the remainder of the January transfer window.
Sunderland completed the first signing of Allardyce’s tenure last night when defender Kirchhoff penned an 18-month deal at the Stadium of Light after arriving in a £750,000 move from Bayern Munich.
That fulfils Sunderland’s need for fresh blood in the heart of their back four, with a deal for Lorient’s Lamine Kone collapsing and Allardyce not following up an enquiry for QPR centre-half Steven Caulker.
Another centre-forward – particularly with question marks over the Sunderland futures of Danny Graham and Steven Fletcher – is now at the top of the agenda to boost the club’s goal threat in the relegation battle.
No further signings are understood to be imminent, though, with Sunderland searching far and wide for the right arrivals.
Allardyce told the Echo: “Yeah, I think we look further up the pitch now, as long as we can become more defensively sound with Jan and when Younes (Kaboul) gets fit again.
“Jermain got us two goals against Aston Villa which changed the game for us.
“That’s the importance of people who are capable of taking chances.
“The more and more chances they’re capable of taking, then the more points you pick up, as long as we keep the resilience side of our team right.”
But Sunderland are also thought to be in the market for a right-back, despite having Billy Jones, DeAndre Yedlin and Adam Matthews on the books.
Summer signing Matthews – currently on the treatment table with ankle ligament damage – has not appeared in any competition since August, while Yedlin remains a rookie in English football.
Allardyce confirmed yesterday that Sunderland had made a move for Lorient right-back Lamine Gossama, only for the Senegal international to reject the chance to move to Wearside.
But that is an area that Sunderland remain keen to address, with any subsequent arrivals likely to depend on the quantity of outgoings.
“We need to have a chat with Ellis (Short) and the board to see what we can do it or not,” added Allardyce.
“Hopefully by the end of January, I’ve made a stronger squad than I’ve got now.”
One player who Sunderland will not be signing is QPR midfielder Sandro, with Allardyce confirming that he has no interest in the Brazilian.