MARTIN O’Neill batted back claims that he is poised to sign Stephen Warnock and James Collins by pointing out that his need at the moment is for attackers.
The Sunderland manager refuses to discuss individual targets, although it can be assumed he is an admirer of both players, having signed them for Aston Villa during his time in charge at Villa Park.
But former Liverpool left-back Warnock may only be being linked recently because it is known the Black Cats are looking to strengthen that position.
And the recruitment of ex-West Ham centre-back Collins seems unlikely, with Sunderland having recently brought in his team-mate Carlos Cuellar. The Wearsiders currently have five centre-halves to call upon, without dipping into the younger ranks where John Egan and Louis Laing are looking to progress.
The manager told the Echo: “Undoubtedly, what is focusing my mind more than anything else is the need to strengthen our attacking options.
“We have lost Nicklas Bendtner after his loan, we have lost Asamoah Gyan from our squad list and we need to bring in strikers.
“What I am looking to do is bring in attacking players who have quality and who have more experience than we have now, because, when you look at our squad in terms of attackers, we are short on experience and it’s something we need to try to address.”
The manager and the rest of his squad were flying home from South Korea today, but O’Neill is hopeful that he will soon be able to announce a breakthrough in the transfer market.
“There may be something I can tell you very soon, but I really don’t want to say anything until players are actually signed,” added the Irishman.
Meanwhile, O’Neill’s eagerness to add experience to his forward line would appear to rule out a move for Argentine striker Facundo Ferreyra.
Reports in Argentina over the weekend linked Sunderland with a move for the 21-year-old, who has come through the ranks at Buenes Aires outfit Club Athletico Banfield.