GUS Poyet will turn to the loan market in a bid to strengthen his Sunderland squad next week, but the head coach admits the club’s battle with relegation last season, and its North-East location, make it difficult to persuade players to join.
With ten days before the transfer window shuts, Poyet is still short of players having been frustrated in his pursuit of certain targets, including Fabio Borini and Eduardo Vargas.
The Black Cats boss is still in the market for a striker and a couple of defenders and yesterday Sunderland were one of several clubs linked with a move for Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck.
The striker, who spent the 2010-11 season on loan at the Stadium of Light, has been told he is surplus to requirements by Louis van Gaal, and it is understood Poyet would be interested in the England international, although he faces competition from several clubs, including Tottenham.
The Uruguayan still hopes Borini will return, with another loan looking the only likely option, but even though time running is running out, Poyet insists he will not be forced into panic buys.
“It’s getting more difficult,” said Poyet. “I would hate to have to buy a player that you would describe as a panic signing, but then again, would I like to play the entire season with six defenders? No.
“We have kept the two loans available, the two loans we are allowed in England.
“When they come up, you need to be quick and you need to be good, to convince the players. Loans in the last three or four years have been so important for us here. It is scary.
“Every single one has come here and performed very well and we want to maintain that. That means bringing in very special players. Which ones? It’s going to be exciting, but yes, of course we will try to use those opportunities.
“I haven’t had that information [about Welbeck], but we are always in contact with other clubs about players of quality and we are waiting.
“My situation with Fabio is clear. I know Welbeck has been here before, but when you know the player, me in particular, you can have a player who may look to others a little bit better, but I will always bring the one I know.
“I wouldn’t have any doubts or complaints. I know Fabio and he would always be my first choice.”
While a striker remains on his list, Poyet is also desperate to sign two defenders even though Billy Jones and Santiago Vergini are set to return against Manchester United tomorrow.
The head coach also revealed he tried to sign Chile striker Vargas before he joined Queens Park Rangers on a season-long loan from Napoli, but hinted the World Cup star preferred to move to London instead of the North-East.
He said: “We were very close to Vargas. It was a matter of decisions between everything – clubs, cities. But in the end he didn’t come.”
And asked whether the club’s battle against the drop was also a factor in recruitment problems, Poyet said: “I think it’s a combination of plenty of things, but those two can influence a player where we are.
“It’s true. If a player, especially a foreigner, has the choice of a club in London or here in the North-East then he will pick London. It’s not an excuse but it is there, it is true.
“Then there is the financial side. Then there is the way they want to live their life or play football or what the manager tells them. I will always tell the truth.
“Some people want to hear the truth and some people don’t. If they come here they will know exactly where they stand. I will tell them exactly what will happen, ask Pantillimon. I tell them it is very windy here!
“In some ways I would love to be in Malaga or Marbella, but this place is unique. Every single person you meet in Sunderland knows about the team. It is everyone.
“In London, it is different. It’s a different way of living, a different passion. It is a different situation but everything that you would want for your career.
“I love London - I won’t say the opposite - and with better weather it would be the best city in the world to live in, but they have four months of winter which is very ugly.
“But I also want to play football, to have the fullest career, a way of playing, a relationship with people, training, the way everything comes together.
“It’s not just about afternoons and going to the restaurants and the cinema. If I want to live my life away from football, I’d maybe pick Sardinia or Spain or the south of France, but in terms of football here you have everything.
“A massive training ground, a good atmosphere, magnificent support - that is what you should support.”