Steve Bruce is hopeful of completing a successful summer clear-out in the next few days, with Argentine club Estudiantes back in for Marcos Angeleri.
Matt Kilgallon and Nyron Nosworthy, meanwhile, are edging closer to loan moves to Championship clubs.
Should the trio be moved on before the transfer window snaps shut in just under a fortnight’s time, Sunderland would be left with a squad in which every player could expect to play a part this season – a situation which owner Ellis Short and chairman Niall Quinn have been anxious to bring about since the window first opened.
And it would bring to an end a large part of the manager’s job since taking over at the Stadium of Light just over two years ago – Bruce charged with the task when he first arrived of clearing out the vast number of unwanted players accumulated under Roy Keane’s time in charge.
There have been plenty of departures this summer – Bolo Zenden, Jordan Henderson and Steed Malbranque, as well as loanees John Mensah, Nedum Onuoha, Danny Welbeck and Sulley Muntari all major names that have moved on.
Had they stayed, all those players would have been involved in the current campaign, but it is the players who have no part in the manager’s plans that the club’s leaders have been most anxious to offload.
Two of those have already gone out on season-long loan moves – George McCartney to West Ham United and Cristian Riveros to Turkish side Kayserispor.
And if a deal can be tied up with Estudiantes for Angeleri, as well as the proposed moves of Kilgallon and Nosworthy, Bruce will finally have a squad carrying no excess baggage.
It’s not a situation he has been in before at Sunderland, having helped unload dozens of players who have been surplus to requirements, but, at the least, the end is in sight as far as that process is concerned.
Nosworthy is the last of the unwanted men from the Keane era – though he was bought by Mick McCarthy as long ago as 2005 – while Angeleri and Kilgallon were Bruce signings that simply never worked out.
Bruce told the Echo: “We’re just going to have to wait and see what happens with Estudiantes.
“They’ve been in for him and then they weren’t and then they’ve had another look again and as things stand now there could be interest in him again.
“Their concern is the knee injury Marcos suffered the season before he arrived here and which he aggravated last year in pre=season.
“He’s been back to Argentina for an operation which has repaired the damage, but obviously that has been on Estudiantes’ mind.
“They’re mulling it over as things stand, but we’re hopeful of some movement on that front soon, while, with Matt and Nyron, we also wait and see but remain hopeful they’ll find clubs.
“If you’re not playing first-team football at a club, you need to look to move on and all three of them appreciate the situation.”
Bruce is pleased to see light at the end of the tunnel, though, in terms of having cleared out what was almost a shadow side of unwanted players since he first arrived.
“Players coming in, players moving on is part of football and always will be,” he added.
“But we did have far, far too many players here a while ago who just weren’t playing games and didn’t have any realistic chances of playing many games.
“Thankfully, we’re getting beyond that now and, with a bit of luck, we’ll get there by the end of the current window.”