O’Neill keeps patience in Sunderland transfer hunt

Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill
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MARTIN O’NEILL has vowed to remain patient in the hunt for new recruits – even if it means Sunderland bolster their ranks after the start of the season.

O’Neill has confirmed Sunderland have made a “number of bids” for a “number of players” as he looks to add to sole summer signing Carlos Cuellar.

The Black Cats boss refused to comment on individual targets, specifically Sunderland’s pursuit of Wolves striker Steven Fletcher after a £10million bid for the 25-year-old was turned down earlier this week.

But Sunderland are either awaiting a response on offers they have submitted, or considering their options after seeing their bids rejected – the latter scenario applying to O’Neill’s continued interest in Fletcher.

Ideally, O’Neill wants the bulk of his recruits in place before the Premier League campaign gets under way at Arsenal in 16 days.

But O’Neill remains confident that Sunderland will land the players on his wish-list, even if it takes the Black Cats until the end of the August transfer window.

O’Neill told the Echo: “I think you just have to have patience. You work on the assumption that things will happen for you.

“I’m not overly-concerned just at this moment.

“It’s not right to publicise what we’re doing at this minute. But we have made a number of bids for a number of players and we’re still waiting to hear back.

“There’s some movement afoot where we’re waiting to hear back and then on others, we’re waiting to see what our next step is, but at least we’ve got some things going on.

“Of course, I would like players to be here for the start of the season. But I’d rather get them in before the end of August than not at all.

“I remember when I was at Leicester after we got promotion and we brought in two players, Kasey Keller and Spencer Prior, two days before our first game at Roker Park. So you can settle in fine. Football is not that difficult.”

O’Neill expects transfer activity to intensify now throughout the Premier League, with London duo Chelsea and QPR the only clubs to have bolstered their squads significantly so far this summer.

“I am surprised that so little has been done,” added O’Neill.

“But I genuinely think there will be movement. Whether we’re all waiting for the big boys to move and we all see what’s left, I don’t know.

“I do think they’ll be a bit of movement soon though because of one of two deadlines – either the start of the season on the 18th or 12 or 13 days further forward at the end of August.”