The Sunderland AFC January transfer Q&A: What you can expect in the final week of the window

Sunderland landed their first January addition earlier this week, with Pierre Ekwah signing a four-and-a-half year deal to join from West Ham United.

With less than a week to go Sunderland are still looking to add some depth in one key position - as well as continuing to add exciting young players to their squad.

In our weekly Q&A we run you through the state of play...

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Sunderland need at least one striker - so what's happening?

Leeds United youngster Joe Gelhardt

Having landed Pierre Ekwah on a permanent deal earlier this week, strengthening up front is the key priority for the club before the transfer window shuts next week.Over the next couple of windows, Sunderland have really important work to do in terms of their short and long-term needs.

Right now, they have one striker and even if he is outstanding, we're back in the situation where one injury would mean major upheaval within the starting XI - and players again asked to operate out of position. They need cover and competition now - ideally someone who can hit the ground running.

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They'd also like to add, whether it be now or in the summer, a striker who they can invest in over time. Regardless of Ross Stewart's contractual status, it's a part of the pitch where at the moment there's no real succession or evolution in place.

So ideally, we'd see a couple through the door over the next week.

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The ideal scenario is the return of Ellis Simms, who knows the group and the system well and had a really successful first half of the season on loan from Everton. The issue is that there is so much uncertainty at Goodison Park right now, no one can be absolutely sure how his situation will develop over the next week. The club are searching for a new head coach and their attempts to bring in a proven forward in Villarreal's Arnaut Danjuma appear to have failed, with Spurs now close to sealing a loan until the end of the season.

It's an evolving scenario and one that could still change quickly, but Sunderland are moving to try and secure other targets so they are not left short at the end of the month.

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That's why they've been one of a number of Championship clubs to make clear their interest in Leeds United's Joe Gelhardt, who is available for loan.

Wigan Athletic made a big move for the youngster earlier this month, tabling an offer that put them in the driving seat. Gelhardt's return would be an emotional one, as he left their academy to move to Elland Road when the club fell into administration a few years back. It's a move that would therefore appeal to the player.

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As of yet, though, Wigan have been unable to get the deal over the line and so Sunderland are one of a number of clubs still very much in the race. Their strong position in the table gives them (like Blackburn Rovers) a potential advantage as the race goes on - as is the fact that with big crowds, top-end facilities and a pressure to perform week-in week-out , they are able to replicate a Premier League atmosphere for young players.

There are a lot of spinning players here, and things can change quickly.

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So what about the young striker? Will that happen this week?

Possibly. Mowbray outlined last week that when trying to sign talented youngsters on permanent deals, we're often talking about quite complex negotiations that take time to conclude. They're also invariably harder to do in January.

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They managed it with Ekwah, who has signed for a modest initial fee with incentives for West Ham United if he goes on to thrive during the course of his long-term contract on Wearside.

Both Andras Nemeth (striker at Genk) and Isaac Lihadji (winger at Lille) are two players who Sunderland are believed to have tracked and who both have potentially big futures in the game. They're both out of contract in the summer, which is why Sunderland are one of a number of clubs interested in their potential availability.

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All of those clubs circling will be wondering whether their current clubs look to cash in during the latter stages of the window, while they still have some control of the scenario. Mowbray has hinted that he thinks the club could be active later in the window and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has said they're still looking to invest in youth - so don't rule out late additions for the longer term.

What about Bailey Wright - will he leave the club?

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It's a possibility, with Mowbray saying he won't stand in the way of players who may be struggling for regular minutes who want more regular starts.

The problem at the moment is that Sunderland have had so many defensive injuries that Wright has been needed week in, week out in terms of the match day squad.

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He's also one of the squad's key leaders and a huge presence off the pitch, which is not to be underestimated.

There is strong interest from Scotland but it's a departure that would be only sanctioned if Mowbray is confident that his injury problems in that part of the pitch are clearing quickly.

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Any other departures possible?

Mowbray's clear stance that he won't block exits for players who want regular football (providing he has cover) may yet open the door, with Leon Dajaku struggling for game time, especially if Sunderland strengthen further.

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Niall Huggins is likely to stay, as Mowbray feels he's best served dropping in and out of the squad as he recovers from so long out. He also offers valuable cover on both flanks.