Ola Toivonen will remain at Sunderland until the end of the season after Rennes ruled out a return to France for the midfielder.
On-loan Toivonen has been limited to a bit-part role under Sam Allardyce’s tenure, with the Swedish international starting five of the Sunderland manager’s 13 games at the helm.
Sunderland are understood to have considered the possibility of Toivonen returning to parent club Rennes this month and bringing a premature end to his loan spell, as they have similarly done with Spurs full-back DeAndre Yedlin.
But that would have required the consent of Rennes, with Sunderland covering all of the 29-year-old’s wages during his season-long stint at the Stadium of Light.
The Ligue 1 outfit are not looking to take Toivonen back though, after they had been keen to offload him last summer to remove his salary from the wage bill.
Rennes coach Philippe Montanier confirmed: “He will not return to Rennes.”
Sunderland do need to offload players if they are to add further fresh blood to the squad this month after bringing in Jan Kirchhoff and Dame N’Doye from Bayern Munich and Trabzonspor respectively.
The Black Cats are close to the limits of their wage bill, and are looking to move on the likes of Will Buckley, Valentin Roberge, Danny Graham and Jordi Gomez.
But Allardyce has been able to address the priority positions of centre-half and centre-forward before the halfway point of the window after N’Doye arrived on a four-month loan this week.
N’Doye is now out of the country formalising the details of his work permit, with reports in Turkey indicating that Sunderland have paid a fee around the £1million mark to take the Senegal international on loan.
Sunderland had been considering various options to strengthen their attacking ranks before opting for the experience of N’Doye, who spent the second half of last season at Hull City.
Utrecht frontman Sebastian Haller was one that the Black Cats had been scouting after previously watching the 21-year-old during the summer.
Sunderland felt that Haller was still too raw for the Premier League, particularly with the Dutch club looking for a fee of £7m for the Frenchman.
Relegation rivals Norwich are willing to pay that and have held talks with Haller this week over a move to Carrow Road.
However, Haller’s agent, Loic Gustan, appears to have ruled out a switch to the Canaries.
“We did indeed visit Norwich’s facilities and Utrecht’s leaders have good relations with those at Norwich,” said Gustan.
“But Sebastian is not expected to join Norwich. We are targeting a club who plays in Europe.
“If a club that plays Europe proposes something and closes things with Utrecht, a departure this winter is possible.”