Dick Advocaat targets reinforcements to shore up Sunderland’s defence

Dick Advocaat.
Dick Advocaat.
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Dick Advocaat has confirmed that Sunderland are still on the look-out for defensive recruits after shipping three goals against League Two Exeter City.

Sunderland secured a Capital One Cup third round home tie against Manchester City last night, but they made life hard themselves with some woeful defending against the Grecians, before eventually triumphing 6-3.

I’m happy with the six goals, but totally unhappy with the way we gave three goals away. That has to improve and the players know that.

The Black Cats brought in defensive trio Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Coates and Adam Matthews during the summer, yet Advocaat’s side have conceded an alarming 11 goals in their opening four games.

As the Echo reported earlier this week, Sunderland had made an enquiry for Man City’s Belgian international Jason Denayer, although the 20-year-old now looks bound to join either Galatasary or Marseille on loan.

But Advocaat says Sunderland ARE considering defensive recruits, prior to next Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

“There has been talk about the young guy from Manchester City, but he is going to another club,” said Advocaat.

“We are still looking, but when Kaboul is fit, he’s a very good player.

“I’m happy with the six goals, but totally unhappy with the way we gave three goals away. That has to improve and the players know that.

“I am wondering if it is to do with concentration, sharpness – it cost us three goals, and that’s a worry.

“And it’s not the first time.”

Advocaat is also on the look-out for a targetman and an attacking midfielder, with Sunderland again linked with a move for Swedish international Ola Toivonen, with the Black Cats’ pursuit of Jonathan de Guzman looking dead.

Dutch international de Guzman has spent more than a week considering Sunderland’s proposal to move to the Stadium of Light on a season-long loan, with a view to a permanent transfer, after a deal was struck with Italian side Napoli.

But de Guzman is now understood to have told Sunderland that he does not want to join the Black Cats, with the ex-Swansea man expected to join French side Marseille.

It’s yet another blow to Sunderland’s bid to add an attacking midfielder to the squad after attempts to sign Stewart Downing and Leroy Fer both came to nought earlier this summer.

However, there have been fresh reports that Toivonen is in Sunderland’s sights after the Black Cats have been credited with an interest throughout the summer in the 29-year-old, who played under Dick Advocaat at PSV Eindhoven.

French club Rennes have been looking to offload Toivonen due to his high salary, and he has been in negotiations with Greek side PAOK.

But with PAOK looking for a loan, rather than a permanent transfer, there were reports in Greece yesterday that Sunderland had agreed a move for Toivonen.