SUNDERLAND are not braced for any imminent new arrivals – despite easing their wage budget with the departure of George McCartney and Steed Malbranque.
McCartney’s return to West Ham on a season-long loan and Malbranque’s move to his homeland with St Etienne has handed Steve Bruce a boost in his chances of strengthening his squad before the August transfer deadline.
Bruce still needs to offload unwanted trio Nyron Nosworthy, Matt Kilgallon and Marcos Angeleri before he is given the go-ahead to re-enter the market, but the departure of two of the club’s top earners has made it far more likely that Sunderland will add to their 10 summer signings.
A natural left-sided midfielder is at the forefront of Bruce’s mind, although interest is understood to have cooled in Manchester City’s Craig Bellamy and Tottenham’s Nico Kranjcar.
But Bruce insists he is yet to hold talks or make an enquiry for any of his targets, with 19 days remaining of the transfer window.
Bruce told the Echo: “With Steed and George leaving, it’s part and parcel of management. There’s had to be a few leaving with what we’ve done in bringing players in.
“It helps the cause when it comes to bringing new players in.
“But there’s nothing happening regarding anyone coming in. I’m not close and not in talks with anyone at the moment. No matter what you read, I’m not.
“Okay, we could still do with a wide-left player maybe and of course we’re always looking, but I’m very pleased with what we’ve done so far.”
Of those Sunderland are looking to offload, the club are yet to receive any serious interest in Nosworthy or Kilgallon.
Angeleri’s protracted move to former club Estudiantes continues to drag on too despite months of talks with Sunderland.
None of the trio has a future on Wearside, with Angeleri losing his squad number and failing to appear for either the first-team or reserves during pre-season.
Anton Ferdinand and Craig Gordon are also vulnerable to a move away with the pair in the final 12 months of their contracts at the Stadium of Light.
Gordon is far more likely to depart than Ferdinand as the arrival of Keiren Westwood has given Bruce a wealth of goalkeeping options.
While Sunderland would not recoup anything like the £9million they paid for Gordon if they sold him either this month or in January, it would still be preferable to losing the 28-year-old for nothing at the end of the season – the scenario if no new deal is forthcoming.