PHIL PARKINSON has confirmed Sunderland’s interest in Argentinian striker Mateo Bajamich – and has hinted the youngster could be joined by Danny Graham with the Black Cats hoping to wrap up two deals at the start of last week.

Sunderland are understood to have tabled an offer of around £500,000 for Bajamich, who plays for Instituto in the Primera B Nacional, the Argentinian second tier.

The forward has scored nine goals in 29 games for Instituto and, crucially, the fact he only turned 21 earlier this year means he classes as an Under-21 player and would not count towards Sunderland’s salary-cap calculations.

That means his wages would not form part of Sunderland’s £2.5m annual limit, potentially opening the door for the club to sign Graham as well.

Graham, who is a free agent after leaving Blackburn Rovers earlier this summer, held talks with Sunderland officials at the end of last month.

“Like I said when we signed Arbenit, we’ve got to spread our net wide to find the right players to add the quality we need into the squad,” said Parkinson. “He’s obviously a player we’ve looked at, and along with a number of targets, we’d like to add a couple more players into the group sooner rather than later.

“(What we do) all depends on the age of the players coming in. If it’s an Under-21, they obviously don’t count in the salary cap in terms of the wages and also the numbers. It would be ideal if one of the places we got in was an Under-21 player because it would mean we could get an extra senior player into the squad.”

Parkinson was speaking after Sunderland crashed out of the Carabao Cup via a penalty shoot-out defeat to Hull City.

The Black Cats missed a succession of chances as the game finished goalless at 90 minutes, before Will Grigg’s penalty miss proved decisive, with the striker failing to convert the first spot-kick of the shoot-out.

Parkinson felt sympathetic to Grigg, especially as he felt the striker had a perfectly good goal ruled out after just six minutes when the referee blew for a foul on Hull goalkeeper Matt Ingram.

“I’m pleased with the performance,” said the Sunderland boss. “I thought we were more effective in our play today. I thought last week some of our build-up play was slow, and today we were quicker. We were more dynamic as a team, and I thought we threatened during those periods of pressure.

“It’s important to take your chances, but I think we were unlucky for Grigg’s goal from the corner not to count. The keeper looks as though he’s just slipped over to me. We had other good opportunities and weren’t able to take them, but in terms of energy level, intensity and the balance of the way we want to play, I thought we were good today.

“Hull were always going to lift their game to a certain degree in the second period, but I still felt we were the better team and should really have won the game comfortably.”