GUSTAVO POYET confirmed that Ignacio Scocco’s miserable seven-months at Sunderland was over before suggesting at least one new player could arrive before the squad flies out to Portugal on Friday.
The Black Cats, who scored three goals in seven second half minutes to beat Hartlepool United at Victoria Park, are pressing ahead with attempts to strengthen despite seeing the £14m move for Liverpool’s Fabio Borini stall.
Talks to agree a deal with Fiorentina for left-back Marcos Alonso have also been at an advanced stage for the last fortnight, while Arsenal’s young forwards Serge Gnabry and Joel Campbell were again linked with Sunderland on Wednesday.
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But it was an outgoing deal that was done before them all, when Newells Old Boys concluded a move worth £2.1m for Scocco. The Argentine striker has been angling to return to South America after failing to make a single Premier League start following his £3.1m switch from Brazil club Internacional in January.
“We were close on Nacho’s deal before this game (at Hartlepool) and I’ve just been told it’s all been signed,” said Poyet. “He wanted to go back to Argentina, it was a good deal for us. It has been the finer details we have been waiting on. He hasn’t played because it looked like he would move on. It is all signed now with Newells Old Boys.”
Poyet will look to use the money to reinvest in his squad, which he feels is still short of what is required for the up-coming Premier League season which starts on August 16 at West Brom.
Borini’s decision to fly to the United States rather than jump in to a move from Liverpool has frustrated him, as has the slowness of the Alonso transfer which he felt would have been concluded earlier. Poyet did admit he can’t afford to wait around too long for his targets.
“We need to be honest about Fabio because the more time that goes past it looks like less chance of it happening, but then some people say that the more players Liverpool sign the better chances we have of signing him,” said Poyet.
“Who is right or wrong? We don’t have a left-back and we need one now. We need the pace we were looking for from last year now. We need the midfielders too. There are things we need to do – right now.
“I have been saying something is very close, but when some things don’t happen it isn’t happening for a reason. We will move on from a few things and if we find the right person then it’s meant to be.”
Poyet did deny Sunderland will be pushing ahead with a £1.5m deal for Marseille’s Morgan Amalfitano, although the Frenchman could figure in his thinking closer to the end of the transfer window.
“Morgan is not a real interest for me at this stage,” said the Sunderland boss. “I followed him when he was at Lorient before Marseille. People ask me about a hundred players and I don’t even know most of them. It’s taking longer than I would like, that’s for sure.
“People say no news is good news and at the minute we are still waiting, which is not nice. I am going to Portugal on Friday and I would have liked players in by then. I think there will be someone in by Friday and maybe there could be three ... but I use the word hope! It’s difficult to know.”
Sunderland only had one new player on show at Victoria Park last night as the club’s young guns took centre stage in the final hour to finally breakdown a resilient Hartlepool.
Pools, of League Two, successfully kept out a Black Cats team including Steven Fletcher, Adam Johnson, Lee Cattermole and Seb Larsson but then Poyet’s decision to change an entire eleven turned proceedings in their favour.
After midfielder Carl Lawson had curled in a delightful opener with 20 minutes remaining, lively right-back Andrew Cartwright then hit a brace to leave Hartlepool defeated and well aware of a fresh injection of pace introduced by Sunderland in front of 5,617 supporters.
Hartlepool actually had more new signings on show than Sunderland. Former Boro boys Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby, old team-mates of Cattermole and Johnson, lined up for the home side, with trialist Tommy Miller given a chance to earn a deal from Colin Cooper.
Miller, a former Sunderland midfielder, sat at the hub of the midfield along with Parnaby and asked to effectively track any deep running from El-Hadji Ba and Larsson behind the lone striker Fletcher for the first hour.
Cooper said: “I want my players to soak in what happened here and think ‘that is the standards I have to aspire to’, whether it is Premier League players we are up against or a League Two team. I want my players to make quick decisions. As long as they are disappointed after getting 90 minutes under their belt, which is great, then we have learned something.
“Tommy wanted to come in and train, I was prepared for that and I will base a decision on what we see. As a bloke I think the world of him, his fitness levels have never dropped, and if I feel he is the right man to bring in permanently I will do that. I want to bring in one or two permanent signings and then a couple more loans later down the line.”
HARTLEPOOL (4-4-2): Flinders; Duckworth, Austin, Bates, Holden; Walker, Miller, Parnaby, Compton (Smith 74); Harewood (Franks 46), James. Subs: Woods, Rafferty (gk), Rowbotham, Nearney, Hawkins, Richards, Jones.
SUNDERLAND (4-1-4-1): Pantilimon; Watmore, Roberge, O’Shea, Ferguson; Cattermole; Johnson, Larsson, Ba, Clayton; Fletcher. Subs (all used on 60 minutes): Pickford (gk); Cartwright, Robson, Harrison, Beadling, Agnew, Honeyman, Smith, Gooch, Lawson, Mandron.