Gustavo Poyet is unhappy with Mark Hughes’ Stoke City for unsettling his players, but confident they will not succeed.
Tonight’s visitors have been linked with Lee Cattermole and Steven Fletcher, with manager Hughes admitting last week he thought his interest in Cattermole was doomed to failure.
With no bid for either player, Poyet is suspicious about Stoke’s motives and critical of his old Chelsea team-mate Hughes for not having been in touch.
“In the local paper we haven’t thrown any rumours that we are interested in any Stoke player, which is what has happened down there for the last week,” Poyet noted.
“We have not had any formal approach or offer from Stoke so for them to be linked with two very important players for us is very disappointing.”
What particularly annoyed Poyet is his personal relationships with their management.
“He (Hughes) knows me well and Eddie Niedzwiecki, the assistant, was with me at Chelsea,” he pointed out. “I think they would call. If they make an offer official it’s fine, but it would be nice if they could give me a call first.”
Poyet and Hughes lived in the same golf course hotel when they first moved to Stamford Bridge.
Both Sunderland players will be involved tonight.
“Last week we had a job with Catts but this week I have tried not to talk about it,” he said.
“If there was something in it, fine. There is absolutely nothing in it. That made me wonder why? Is somebody trying to be clever?” He joked: “I hope they are the best two players on the pitch and maybe on Thursday we will get an offer!
“If they play well people will say they played well because they want to go. If they play badly, people might say they should go. I trust them and that is the most important part.”
Fletcher has looked badly out of sorts, but Poyet has been happy with the Scot off the field.
“We know each other a lot better now,” he said. “He knows us as a staff, and myself as a head coach better. He knows how we deal with situations, and how we trust the players.
“There is no doubt about how important he is for us, how much we care about him. Now we need him just to score a few goals. That would be perfect for him.”
Poyet, who had Carlos Cuellar back in training this week, is hopeful of completing a deal for striker Ignacio Scocco, then adding a midfielder – either Liam Bridcutt or Ever Banega – before Friday’s 11pm deadline.
“Scocco can bring something special around the box we are missing,” he said. “It’s still not completely done. It’s waiting for the medical and one or two bits.”
Alfred N’Diaye is expected to join Real Betis on loan until the end of the season, while Modibo Diakite’s agent has claimed “there is a 50% chance” of his client returning to Italy.
Ulisse Savini mentioned Parma and Chievo, but there has even been talk of a swap deal for Napoli’s Paolo Cannavaro. But Emanuele Giaccherini’s agent is adamant he is not leaving.
“(Guangzhou Evergrande coach) Marcello Lippi tried to take Giaccherini to China,” said Furio Valcareggi.
“(Parma general director) Pietro Leonardi contacted me because they like the player and seek a replacement for Jonathan Biabiany. Genoa made an attempt for Emanuele too, but he remains at Sunderland because he has a major contract with them and we want to respect it.”