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Sunderland determined to move on high earners and strengthen but loan window could offer a vital reprieve

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole.
Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole.
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Charlie Methven insists that Sunderland will only allow their high earners to leave the club when their market value has been met.

The Black Cats are eager to offload Didier Ndong, Papy Djilobodji and Lee Cattermole, while Bryan Oviedo’s wages mean that offers for his services would be considered.

There remains strong hope at the club that Ndong and Djilobodji, who are yet to return to the club after loan spells elsewhere last season, will be moved on soon.

The Black Cats have fielded a permanent offer for Djilobodji and held talks over a loan to buy deal for Ndong.

Cattermole’s future is less certain. The midfielder does not appear to be part of Jack Ross’s plans, but his wages make a deal with interested clubs difficult.

Hull City have explored the possibility of a deal, but Sunderland are keen to offload him permanently.

While the departure of these players is crucial to Sunderland’s drive for financial stability and future incomings, Methven insists that the club will not cave on their valuations.

He told FC Business magazine: “Despite having sold some of our higher earners there are still a few more who will eventually need to go. But they will go when we decide the moment is right, not because they force us into a move.

“They are assets that the club has paid dearly for – indeed, that we are still paying for right now – and they have a market value and that market value has to be realised. End of.”

While the deadline shuts for permanent deals at 5pm on Thursday, loan deals and sales to continental clubs can still be completed right up until the end of the month.

That allows the Black Cats precious breathing room as they seek to complete their squad for the coming months.

Their need for attacking reinforcements has been underlined by an injury to Jerome Sinclair.

The Watford loanee will miss at least a month of competitive action due to the hamstring injury he picked up during the 2-1 win over Charlton Athletic on the opening day of the season.

It leaves Jack Ross short of options in attack ahead of a busy schedule of games, with Charlie Wyke still at least a fortnight away from being fit to play.

However, with the loan window open until the end of the month, there is less pressure than on previous deadline days and Ross is determined to ensure any signings can make a real impact and not be brought in out of panic.

Methven said last week that Ross would not sanction any arrivals he was not completely satisfied with.

He said: “I think it’s reasonably common knowledge that we’d like to bring an extra couple in. But Jack is very, very insistent that the players who come in are players that are going to improve the squad in the medium to long-term.

“I know that sounds obvious but I’ve worked at clubs before where it’s been, get them in through the door, pile them high and then I’ll work it out from there.

“A few times the recruitment department have said to Jack, we think we’ve got someone here who is workable, who we think we can get, and Jack has said, actually, I don’t think he’ll fit in with my style of play or he’s not the right character, or whatever it might be.

“He’s quite judicious in the way in which he does things, the aspiration is there for another couple to come in but it’s not a given. If the right players aren’t available he won’t do it.”

Sinclair’s injury is a significant blow for Ross, however, after his major impact in Saturday’s win.
Speaking after that game, Ross hailed the forward and admitted that a prolonged absence could force him to return to the market.

He said: “His impact was good, he is really enjoying it. He has settled in well.

“I had already decided to make that change. The easiest thing would have been to stay with that system. We were keen to get somebody closer to Josh, Jerome did that.

“We need to assess Jerome’s hamstring injury, the seriousness of that. That will leave us light in forward areas because we already were.

“Even today when you look at the bench it was all academy players, even though Jerome is young and Bryan obviously has experience.

“I would expect there will be a little more movement but I wanted this out the way first and then maybe have a look.

“The loan window does give you the extra option. It’s nice to know when we get beyond the window that we have that bit of extra time to try to do a few things.”