Sunderland looking at overseas recruits for January window

Sunderland were beaten 4-1 at Manchester City
Sunderland were beaten 4-1 at Manchester City
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Sam Allardyce expects Sunderland’s January recruits to come from the Continental market.

Second-bottom Sunderland’s desperate need for fresh blood next month was again highlighted by Boxing Day’s embarrassingly comfortable defeat at Manchester City, albeit the Black Cats remained five points adrift of safety.

I think it would be very difficult to secure a player from any club in the Premier League

Sam Allardyce

Allardyce wants to land a new centre-half and centre-forward in the transfer window, even though he has begun to admit that Sunderland could be in the hunt for further additions, if he can move on any of the current squad.

And it is the European, rather than the British market, which Sunderland are mainly concentrating on after watching several players overseas during recent weeks.

The likes of Lorient centre-half Lamine Kone and Utrecht striker Sebastien Haller have both been on Sunderland’s radar, although it is understood that the Black Cats are now unlikely to make a move for the latter.

“Probably, it’ll have to be from abroad, by the looks of what’s about and available in this country,” said Allardyce.

“I think it would be very difficult to secure a player from any club in the Premier League because I don’t think they’d want to let anybody go.

“So, for me, it looks like it might be from abroad, and then see where we go from there.”

A new central defender is the overwhelming number one priority after Sunderland have shipped seven goals in their two games, with Manchester City spurning several opportunities to win by a more handsome margin on Saturday.

“We’ve got to get back to being a resilient defensive unit,” said Allardyce.

“It starts with the front, but the backline and the goalkeeper have to be the ones that ultimately secure those clean sheets, so a defender’s my first priority, a central defender.

“Then we’ll move on from there.

“Whether we can find one good enough is another matter.”

Although Fabio Borini netted a consolation for the second successive game, Sunderland have not been much better at the other end of the pitch during four defeats on the spin.

Steven Fletcher and, particularly, Danny Graham both spurned first-half chances at the Etihad, with fellow frontman Jermain Defoe an unused substitute.

Allardyce added: “At the top end, we’re not looking very clinical with the chances we had.

“Danny Graham and Steven Fletcher had two excellent chances, one free header and one shot six yards out. Both missed the target, and in our situation those have to start going in.

“But that would only have got us back in the game.

“In the end, until we stop the goals going in and give ourselves an opportunity like we did at Crystal Palace, then we’ve got no chance.

“We’re making far too many mistakes at the minute.”

Sunderland are back in action on Wednesday night, with Liverpool visiting the Stadium of Light.