Sunderland boss wants early strikes

Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill
Have your say

MARTIN O’NEILL intends to strike early in the January sales now that the transfer window is open for business.

O’Neill has a reputation for taking his time to bring in new recruits, with big money summer signings Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher not arriving at the Stadium of Light until after the Premier League campaign had kicked off.

But with Sunderland facing at least four more games in January after tonight’s trip to Liverpool, O’Neill realises that any fresh faces can have an immediate impact on the campaign.

O’Neill has warned, though, that however keen he may be to seal swift deals, selling clubs may wait until the last minute to extract the best possible price.

The Sunderland boss told the Echo: “Of course you would rather do something earlier rather than later, but it is not always possible.

“I do try to do business early and when things happen late on it is not by design.

“We’ve been doing homework before the window opened and we have been making enquiries, as has everybody else. Some people feel that the January transfer window is very much a sellers market and that might be the case.

“But this is the only opportunity you get to sign players during the course of the season.

“We’re trying to look at one or two things, but I wouldn’t say everything was ready to roll as soon as the window opened.

“We’re looking round to see what we can do and if things take time to come to fruition, it won’t be for the want of trying!”

Sunderland have already held discussions over a loan move for former Everton man Tim Cahill, with the 33-year-old New York Red Bull midfielder potentially available during the MLS close season.

And although O’Neill is keen to land long-term recruits, he admits he will not be averse to loan deals after bringing Wayne Bridge and Sotirios Kyrgiakos to the Stadium of Light temporarily last January and then landing Danny Rose during the summer.

“If I can bring in a player and he can not only be of value to us straight away but will also help take the club forward, then I don’t mind spending money in January,” said O’Neill.

“I did that at Aston Villa with Ashley Young and with John Carew.

“But there may be other short-term loans that could bolster us immediately.”