Like someone who has just moved into a new house and discovered the person who had it before them has piled a load of unwanted junk in the attic, Sunderland's new sporting director Lee Congerton has insisted the club will not be signing players "for the sake of it" this summer.

That marks a major sea change from this time last year, when former director of football Roberto De Fanti was signing players just because the day ended in a Y.

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Congerton is adamant there'll be no more Cabrals or Modibo Diakites coming through the Stadium of Light entrance doors this summer - unless of course it's actually Cabral or Diakite coming back off loan.

Interestingly, Sunderland's new head recruitment honcho has also hinted that the loan market could be important again this summer. Hence, perhaps, the willingness to wait while other clubs decide what they want to do.

There'll be outgoings as the summer goes on as well, of course, and yesterday saw one of the stranger stories of the close season as John O'Shea was linked with a £3m move to Spurs.

The Northern Echo: CUP WOES: John O’Shea reacts after Sunderland lose 3-0 to Hull City in the FA Cup quarter-final last week

Various reports suggested new Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has included O'Shea on a list of potential signings, but it's hard to see how the 33-year-old would fit into the brave new era that is being planned at White Hart Lane.

Perhaps of more relevance is the fact that O'Shea has entered the final year of his contract. An agent putting his client's name out there just to try to secure a new deal? Surely not....

Transfer likelihood rating: 3/10

Ignacio Scocco has also been extensively linked with a return to South America, and it's not hard to see why Sunderland might be tempted to admit defeat and draw a line under a January transfer that simply hasn't worked.

River Plate and Newells Old Boys would both be interested in signing Scocco, who achieved the remarkable feat of making Jozy Altidore look like a decent purchase in the second half of last season.

Transfer likelihood rating: 7/10



The same old names dominate the stories surrounding Newcastle, with most of yesterday's transfer talk continuing to surround Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

The Magpies love a drawn-out pursuit of a striker - they must have watched Modibo Maiga and Kevin Gameiro more times than Coronation Street without signing either - and Lasogga looks like another one that will drag on and on.

Reports in Germany suggest the striker would like to move to Tyneside - but only if the price is right. "Come on down," says Mike Ashley. Preferably from about £50,000-a-week to about 25.

Transfer likelihood rating: 4/10

Remy Cabella is another name that refuses to go away, and it's no secret that Newcastle would really like the French midfielder.

The Northern Echo: TYNESIDE BOUND?: Newcastle have agreed a fee for Remy Cabella - and are hoping to conclude a deal next week

Again though, money remains an issue, with Montpellier president Louis Nicollin proving every bit as tough a negotiator as Ashley.

It remains to be seen who will blink first, but while the lines of communication remain open, it's alarming that precious little seems to change from one day to the next.

Transfer likelihood rating: 5/10



This time last year, we were writing here at the Echo about the possibility of Boro signing Eduardo Vargas. Last night, he was scoring the opening goal as Chile dumped Spain out of the World Cup. How times change.

The Northern Echo:

In fairness to Boro, they genuinely thought they had a decent chance of landing Vargas, whose move to Napoli had not worked, and whose agent, Jorge Mendes, was looking to put him in the shop window.

Maybe Boro officials heard the phrase 'shop window' and were going to put him in a nice suit and stick him in the front of Pysche? Either way, the move never happened, Vargas eventually moved to Valencia on loan and Boro started last season with Lukas Jutkiewicz up front instead. Hmmm.

It remains to be seen who Boro end up signing this summer, but the club's previous attempts to break into overseas markets appear to have been temporarily shelved. Having spent the best part of seven months watching the Championship, Aitor Karanka has concluded that a good big 'un tends to beat a fleet-footed 19-year-old Spaniard on loan from La Liga.