SANTIAGO VERGINI is expected to be the next arrival at the Stadium of Light, as Sunderland close in on re-signing the Argentine defender.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has set a target of landing four players over the next six days to bolster a squad whose threadbare options have been highlighted throughout the pre-season campaign.
The Black Cats remain on the trail of Fabio Borini, although Poyet said here in Portugal last night that there was no further progress with the £14million pursuit of the Liverpool frontman.
But Sunderland are understood to be hopeful of completing a permanent deal for Atletico Fenix centre-half Vergini after he enjoyed a successful loan spell at the Stadium of Light during the second half of last season.
“We know Santi well and he was always one of the first choices,” said Poyet.
“It was him, Marcos (Alonso) and Fabio (Borini) – all on loan last season – who have been close.
“When you know a player well, you know what he is going to add to the group.”
While Vergini is firmly on Sunderland’s radar, several players linked with the Black Cats over the last 24 hours can be ruled out.
Chelsea winger Christian Atsu was reported to be a loan target for Sunderland yesterday, yet it is not thought that the Black Cats will be signing the Ghana international.
Neither is Norwich midfielder Alex Tettey on Sunderland’s wish-list.
Lazio full-back Luis Pedro Cavanda, who was a target last summer during ex-director of football Roberto De Fanti’s shopping spree, has again been linked with the Black Cats, along with Hamburg and West Ham.
Poyet confirmed that Sunderland have been offered the services of Cavanda, but he is not a player that the club are actively pursuing, although they are on the look-out for a versatile full-back.
“After I heard the name yesterday morning I watched a few games of him (on DVD),” added Poyet.
“The first time I have seen him properly was yesterday.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland are thought to have ended their interest in Max Clayton, with the out-of-contract Crewe striker joining Wolves on trial.
Clayton spent the first three weeks of pre-season training with the Black Cats and featured in the friendlies against Darlington 1883 and Hartlepool.
But after speaking with Clayton’s agent and Crewe – who were looking for an initial £500,000 payment for the 19-year-old, plus a further £500,000 in add-ons – Sunderland are not expected to pursue the frontman any further.
Clayton has now joined Wolves on trial, as he attempts to win a contract with the newly-promoted Championship outfit.