GUS POYET has turned to Chilean World Cup striker Eduardo Vargas as an alternative option to Fabio Borini after admitting that he is more than happy to add foreign talent to his Sunderland squad this month.
Despite making greater progress on the transfer front in the last few weeks by adding Will Buckley, Santiago Vergini and Jack Rodwell to his Black Cats squad, there is still the glaring hole in his list of attacking options left vacated by Borini at the end of last season.
The end of the Italian’s loan from Liverpool has led to a summer of discussions with the Anfield club in a bid to push through the £14m deal which has been agreed for some time between the two Premier league rivals.
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But a failure to get Borini to conclude the transfer has left Sunderland, who also offloaded Argentine flop Ignacio Scocco last month and have doubts surrounding the future of Connor Wickham, considering different options and Vargas has emerged as a realistic contender.
The Napoli forward, who spent time on loan at Valencia last season and is attracting strong interest from QPR, has previously interested Middlesbrough and bringing in new blood from the continent is certainly something being considered. So far Poyet has brought in seven new players and all of them have experience of the English game.
The Sunderland manager said: “Me, I think it was something we were missing. I think it was something we have maybe changed. We needed a few, young British players to come into the club and we were trying to target a certain style of player and make sure we’ve got a good combination.
“I’m not an extremist. I don’t want all British or all foreigners. It’s a good mix of knowing in which positions you need some of one or the other, but I also think it’s important a club like us has some assets for the future because that is a way to produce, to bring players in the future. It’s not just about buying and buying and spending and spending.”
Sunderland, who collected a point from Saturday’s season opener at West Brom, have failed to land a number of transfer targets, but the progress made in recent weeks has satisfied the boss and the aim is to bring in a couple more before the transfer deadline closes on September 1.
Poyet, who is working closely with sporting director Lee Congerton to bring more new faces in, is determined to ensure everything is in place. He said: “We’ve got a plan, where we want to be, what we think we need to have, how we can improve from the past. We had an agreement on certain things and then of course getting the players.
“There were moments where we were trying to sign a few players where they look spectacular for us and then we find out they were out of our price range to bring to the club. You have to work a little bit differently and knowing how to use the loans, when and how. Without exaggerating, it’s like a game: you’re playing a game, to get players in.”
Adding a couple of loan players in the next couple of weeks is also a strong possibility, but Poyet is satisfied with the fitness levels of his players ahead of Sunday’s second Premier League game with Manchester United after a demanding pre-season.
“It’s been a pleasure to watch them working very hard,” said Poyet, who had his players doing double sessions for the majority of July. “It’s been a pleasure to see Steven Fletcher every day in training, Wes Brown and players in the past who had a few issues with injuries.
“For us it’s fundamental - to perform in the Premier League, you need quality and everything but you need to be fit - if you’re not fit, you’ve got no chance. It was quite an impressive one.”