Sunderland boss David Moyes insists the club is working hard to bring in more signings before the transfer window closes – with four positions targeted.
Moyes wants another striker to help support Jermain Defoe, a senior right-back and up to two midfield players the priority before August 31.
His squad has been hit by injuries with Lee Cattermole, Jan Kirchhoff, Seb Larsson, Billy Jones and now Everton target Lamine Kone out for tomorrow’s visit of Middlesbrough (1.30pm kick-off) – with Fabio Borini a doubt.
The situation hasn’t been helped by Younes Kaboul’s transfer to Watford, a move instigated by the defender who wanted to move back south, and the ongoing situation with Kone.
Kaboul’s age and injury record were factors in Sunderland’s decision to sell.
Moyes is fully aware of the need to strengthen and says that work is ongoing around the clock – with hopes that the more eye-catching signings are still to come.
“I hope so. I am trying to bring in some players, but the market is not easy,” said Moyes.
“Bits have been taken out of our team – we have been hunting very hard for a right-back.
“We took Donald Love as a back-up, a young boy coming through, but we are still looking for that.
“We are still looking for another centre-forward to help Jermain play alongside him or be back-up in some way.
“We couldn’t go in for a [Christian] Benteke, for example. We are not in that market.
“You say about is our best still to come? I hope so, I think we have more to come, but I think we have done some good business as well, I do.”
Sunderland – like other Premier League clubs – structure payments for previous signings so there is that to factor into the summer finances too.
“It is part of every football club, that is the way the payment system goes,” added Moyes.
“There is a bit of that, but I still feel we are in need of at least one midfielder, maybe two.
“That is a big priority with the injuries we have got.
“They’ll be things I am hoping to get in the coming weeks, but where we are really short, is in midfield.”
A move for Yann M’Vila is ongoing, but the Echo understands that DeAndre Yedlin is unlikely to be returning to the Stadium of Light.
Moyes is down to the bare bones of around 14 senior outfield players to pick from.
“Ideally, I would always like to work with a squad of around 19 senior players and then kids, if you lose people to injury it is easier to bring them in,” added Moyes.
“I always want there to be room for the young ones to be involved. If you have too many, you find there is no room for them to come through.
“We have to make sure they are good enough, though.”
“Are we ready now? No, we are not,” added Moyes, who said the upheaval of a change in management during the summer delayed business.
“But we are doing everything we can to make the team the best we can until the window is shut, then we will need to go with what we have got – the side that gives us the best chance of winning.”
Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed that he is not interested in Aston Villa defender Joleon Lescott, whose move to Rangers fell through.
“No,” said Moyes.
“We have bought a left-footed defender in Papy Djilobodji so we don’t necessarily need another.”