GUSTAVO POYET wants Sunderland to have four new players in his squad within a week or he fears it could be too late to bed signings in for the start of the Premier League season.
Poyet’s attempts to put his own stamp on the squad he inherited last October have not gone as smoothly as he would have liked and last night he would have preferred to play his first team in the 1-0 friendly win over Recreativo de Huelva in the Algarve.
Instead he had to fly out ten members of the club’s development squad to ensure his players did not get over-worked knowing another game at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira is scheduled against CD Nacional tonight.
Before flying out to Portugal, the Sunderland boss revealed his hopes that at least a couple of deals would be done in time for additions to figure on the trip. Instead only Patrick van Aanholt, a £1.5m buy from Chelsea last Friday, was brought in.
A deal for Liverpool’s Fabio Borini has stalled, while Sunderland are understood to have cooled the idea of paying £4m for Atletico Madrid’s Cristian Rodriguez because of the length of time the player has taken to make a decision.
But Poyet is determined to have some good news on the transfer front by the middle of next week, knowing that with the Premier League opener at West Brom on game August 16 is approaching.
“It’s clear we need a few new players and it has not been as quick as I would have expected,” said Poyet, speaking in Portugal last night. “We are all waiting. It’s the same names. We are waiting for news. It’s getting a little close to the part where I really want to work with the main squad.
“One or two they are close, but if you ask me last week I would say those two were close too. I cannot wait another week. We are going to be off Monday and Tuesday, so next Wednesday I need to have four new players. “I am like any other manager, the sooner you get the players the better. I hope it is now, today, tomorrow. It’s difficult for me because there are things we need to work on this week. The beginning of next week and that’s practically it (the last week of pre-season). The only thing you can do is ensure everything is in place and refresh things that you’ve done.”
Poyet did not name Rodriguez by name but, when asked whether a deal for him had been called off, he said: “Let’s talk about X player, for a player to come to us, everything needs to come together. The finances of the transfer, the finances of the player, that’s the part where I don’t get involved. I like to plan and it has been very difficult.”
Poyet has still not given up on bringing Borini back to the Stadium of Light with the £14m transfer still on the table. He said: “He is being assessed now for his shoulder injury. That’s stopped everything a little bit. We will see. I have not held talks with him, but the club has, although that’s private. We know where we stand.”
The arrival of van Aanholt has lessened the need to buy Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina. The struggles Sunderland have had on the transfer front, however, mean he could still sign him again –but not on a permanent basis.
“If you ask me before pre-season started, if I wanted two left footed left-backs, I would have said no,” said Poyet. “Now if Alonso becomes available on loan for free then we would probably take him. We need another full-back. The idea is one who can play right and left or with Billy covering.”
But Poyet is pleased to have signed van Aanholt. He said: “It’s easy to bring in players who you know personally and you know what you are going to get and I know Patrick. Patrick needs to get used to plenty of things that we do, nothing difficult but ne needs to get used to it. I am so happy to have him here, every day for two sessions.”
The Dutch defender will play a part in tonight’s friendly with CD Nacional, having watched last night’s win over Recreativo with the majority of the first team squad in the main stand with the hundreds of fans from Wearside.
Young striker Mikael Mandron slotted in the only goal of the game from the penalty spot 12 minutes before the end after Greek winger Charis Mavrias had earned it. Liam Bridcutt was among those to come on with first team experience.
Poyet said: “We were four or five player short. As everybody knows we couldn’t make two elevens. I didn’t want to mix it, I didn’t think it was right, so I brought the young players out. We only used five first team players, I decided to bring them on rather than play them from the beginning. They will probably get another 20 minutes on Wednesday depending how it goes.”