Sam Allardyce has returned to the UK from Sunderland’s pre-season training camp in Austria to fast-track talks with a transfer target.
The Sunderland squad enjoyed a day off at their base in the Alps today, with Allardyce taking the opportunity to return to these shores in a bid to end the Black Cats’ search for a breakthrough in the transfer market.
Allardyce’s departure from the training camp will only further speculation that he is due to hold talks with the Football Association this week.
The Sunderland boss had flown out to Austria later than the rest of his squad last week because of the overwhelming need to bring in fresh faces.
And while Allardyce has been regularly liaising with head of recruitment Martin Glover and new chief executive Martin Bain during Sunderland’s time on the Continent, he has returned to the UK to help in the pursuit of fresh faces.
However, Allardyce’s departure from the training camp will only further speculation that he is due to hold talks with the Football Association this week.
Bookmakers favourite Allardyce IS understood to be on the FA’s shortlist to be the next England manager, yet contrasting claims have emerged over the search for Roy Hodgson’s successor.
There have been widespread reports that the 61-year-old will discuss the position before the weekend, but there has been contradictory speculation that he is still waiting for any formal contact.
Ex-Sunderland boss and current Hull manager Steve Bruce was at the centre of similar speculation after publicly claiming he hadn’t spoken to the FA, despite reports to the contrary.
However, regardless of the England situation, Allardyce has clearly grown frustrated with Sunderland’s inability to add to a squad which secured Premier League survival by a whisker last season.
Allardyce even admitted his impatience over the lack of signings in a club website interview after a move for Inter Milan full-back Davide Santon fell through last week.
“I have to admit myself that my patience is wearing thin, but we have to keep trying to bring in those three or four players as quickly as possible,” he said.
Allardyce is looking for five or six additions, with a right-back and a striker of utmost importance to the Sunderland manager.
But it is not proving an easy task in the transfer market for Sunderland.
Despite the increased revenue from the new television deal, the Black Cats are not able to compete with the £30million-plus bids submitted by Crystal Palace for Liverpool Christian Benteke.
Sunderland have a chunk of their transfer budget allocated for a striker - thought to be for West Ham’s Diafra Sakho - yet the Black Cats are having to be astute in searching for further additions.
The club also continue to be hamstrung by the combined wages of those considered surplus to requirement, with the quintet of Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley, Jordi Gomez, Adam Matthews and Charis Mavrias all training with the Under-21s while the first-team have been in Austria