Sunderland are among a host of European clubs interested in a loan move for Manchester City defender Jason Denayer.
The Black Cats have signed defensive trio Younes Kaboul, Adam Matthews and Sebastian Coates so far this summer, yet they have shipped eight goals in the opening three games, albeit Dick Advocaat’s side were much-improved at the back in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Swansea.
We need two or three to strengthen positions to get more competition in the squadDick Advocaat
Sources in Belgium have indicated that Sunderland have made an enquiry for Manchester City youngster Denayer, who enjoyed a successful loan spell with Celtic last season, where he was voted Scottish Young Player of the Year.
Sunderland are not alone, with Marseille and Galatasaray also interested in signing the 20-year-old Belgian international.
But Sunderland would be able to give Denayer a taste of Premier League football after he had originally been earmarked to a play a part for City this season, prior to their £32million capture of Nicolas Otamendi.
Denayer primarily operated as a centre-half for Celtic last season, but he is also capable of filling in at left-back, where Patrick van Aanholt has struggled during Sunderland’s opening two games, although he was better against Swansea.
Advocaat remains desperate to boost Sunderland’s options up front and in midfield, with the club due to learn if ex-Swansea man Jonathan de Guzman is willing to return to the Premier League on loan from Napoli.
There have been suggestions in Italy, though, that de Guzman is wary of joining Sunderland, with Marseille also keen on the Dutch international.
But while Advocaat’s priorities may be in attack, he is also keen to increase the competition in the squad, with van Aanholt the only specialist left-back available to him.
Advocaat is also wary that while Sunderland’s commitment was much-improved against Swansea at the weekend, they cannot rely on effort alone to preserve their Premier League status.
He said: “We need two or three to strengthen positions to get more competition in the squad. That’s most important.
“You need competition during the games, but also in training, so they don’t feel it’s easy.
“For some, it’s easy.
“We still need something and hopefully the president will realise that as well, because you can’t bring that (effort alone) every week.”
Meanwhile, there were reports in Holland last night that Sunderland are interested in PSV Eindhoven targetman Jurgen Locadia.
The 21-year-old has netted 25 goals in 70 appearances for PSV, but the suggestion is that the Dutch champions would only be prepared to let him leave for big money.
PSV are under no urgent need to offload players after pocketing £14m from Georginio Wijnaldum’s move to Newcastle.