Sam Allardyce begins transfer talks with Sunderland chairman Ellis Short

Sam Allardyce has opened discussions with chairman Ellis Short over Sunderland's summer transfer kitty.

Thursday, 19th May 2016, 7:00 am
Sam Allardyce

 Allardyce and Short celebrated long into the night a week ago after Sunderland secured Premier League survival, but the pair have now got down to the serious business of ensuring the Black Cats avoid a fifth successive season battling against the drop.

The pair are understood to have met yesterday and will continue their talks today after Sunderland’s summer planning has largely been on hold while there has been such uncertainty over their top flight status.

Prior to the discussions, Allardyce has not had comprehensive indication over Sunderland’s summer transfer budget, despite the Black Cats boss enjoying a far more positive working relationship with Short than his predecessors and being backed by more than £15m in the January transfer window.

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The transfer kitty is not the only issue on the agenda, with Sunderland’s wage bill around the £70million mark and still bloated by several players who are due to return to the Stadium of Light after completing their loan moves.

Once Allardyce and Short have finalised the details of Sunderland’s budget, then the process can begin of more detailed talks over permanent moves for the club’s loanees or new contracts for those already on the books.

However, Sunderland will need to quickly catch up on their Premier League peers, whose top flight status has been secure for several weeks as the relegation battle boiled down to a three-way fight for survival.

Other than pre-season arrangements, Allardyce admitted that Sunderland’s summer planning had to go on ice while they were unsure which division they would be playing in.

But the Echo understands that Allardyce and his coaching staff WERE still looking at transfer targets during the final few weeks of the season, despite the threat of relegation.

Allardyce’s backroom team made several trips out to the Continent to cast their eye over possible signings, on top of the club’s routine scouting system.

Reports in France yesterday credited Sunderland, Leicester, Wolfsburg, West Ham and Southampton with an interest in Nice midfielder Nampalys Mendy.

However, Mendy is predominantly a defensive midfielder, with Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce confirming last weekend that he was looking for an attack-minded player in the middle of the park.