GUSTAVO POYET was back on the training ground with his Sunderland squad yesterday – and work is ongoing to have more new players join him.
Summer signings Costel Pantilimon, Jordi Gomez and Billy Jones have been at the Academy of Light for pre-season training and Poyet hopes the trio will be joined by more sooner rather than later.
While the likes of Manchester City’s Jack Rodwell, Liverpool’s Fabio Borini, Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma and Cardiff’s Jordan Mutch are all on Sunderland’s wish-list, no deals are imminent at this stage.
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Sunderland were also represented in Edinburgh at the weekend to watch Hearts’ pre-season friendly defeat to Dinamo Bucharest.
It has been claimed in Romania that that they were keeping tabs on 18-year-old winger Dorin Rotariu, while Hearts defender Jordan McGhee is being watched by a number of Premier League clubs.
McGhee has also caught the eye of Juventus and Sunderland have been aware of his talents for some time. Despite Hearts’ problems which will see them play in the Scottish Championship next season, the 17-year-old has shone at Tynecastle and is regarded as one of the hottest prospects north of the border.
For now, though, Poyet is working with what he has got on the training ground and has left the recruitment drive to sporting director Lee Congerton – and he is pleased to be back at work planning for his first full season as a Premier League boss.
Poyet said: “As everyone knows it was an ecstatic end to the season, really difficult and we were quite tired mentally. We took a well deserved week away with the staff and the families. Then I went to see my family in Uruguay for a few days and everybody knows I was in Brazil with ITV.
“People and players need to realise that pre-season is hard and you need to suffer a little bit. The more you suffer the less you will suffer in the season. It’s really important and maybe the mental side is the most important one. If you get through pre-season in the right way, you will be ready.”