The festive period is rapidly approaching which can mean only one thing – the January sales are just around the corner.
Sunderland signed 10 players in the summer – including three loan signings – as David Moyes revamped his squad in the short time he had between taking charge and the last window closing.
But with Sunderland bottom after the worst-ever start to a league campaign, further additions are needed to pull off another great escape.
With that in mind, what can Sunderland fans expect this January?
With Sunderland about £140million in debt, it is fair to say the club’s financial situation is not a picture of health.
Funds will be limited in the next window, while the wage bill is also close to the Financial Fair Play regulations cap.
Ellis Short forked out £27million this summer – the 10th highest net spend in the top flight – but given the competitive beast that is the Premier League, more is needed.
Sunderland splashed out on Lamine Kone, Jan Kirchhoff and Wahbi Khazri last January.
This January will be just as crucial but Sunderland’s financial situation means they will have to be more savvy.
Key areas to strengthen:
With Sunderland boasting the lowest number of goals scored and joint-second worst defence, strengthening defence and attack is key.
Possible defensive recruits include Austrian trio Martin Hinteregger, Aleksandar Dragovic and right-back Florian Klein and Dynamo Kiev centre-half Domagoj Vida.
Sunderland may also try to cash in on Kone which would generate funds but also the need for a replacement.
Moyes looks set to lose Kone anyhow – and possibly fellow centre-half Papy Djilobodji – in January to the Africa Cup of Nations, with Khazri and Dider Ndong also expected to feature.
Sunderland rely heavily on Jermain Defoe, with Victor Anichebe the only other experienced recognised striker.
He excelled against Bournemouth but needs to prove his consistency. Adding another striker is key.
Sunderland currently have three loan players; Man City defender Jason Denayer, ManUnited winger Adnan Januzaj and Atletico Madrid right-back Javier Manquillo.
Clubs are only allowed two domestic loans, but there is scope for further loans from abroad. And with money tight, expect that to be an avenue Sunderland look to go down.
There is interest in Kone from Everton and West Ham while home-grown Jordan Pickford has attracted widespread praise and attention after establishing himself.
Fans would not welcome the sale of Pickford but Kone’s stock has fallen since last season and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Sunderland cashed in.
Sebastian Coates is likely to make his loan deal at Sporting Lisbon permanent in January. That could pocket Sunderland £4.5million; a welcome boost to the transfer kitty.
Other departures are likely to be restricted to some of the younger players heading out on half-season loans.
Any hopes of landing the former loan star were thwarted by cash-rich Rubin Kazan’s refusal to go any lower than their £8.5million asking price for a player out of contract in January.
There is a pre-contract agreement in place with M’Vila, although that is not binding. Sunderland’s hopes seemingly rest with the player, with Kazan understood to have offered him a new deal too.
M’Vila has been a huge miss. Securing his signature would be a massive morale boost on and off the field.