SUNDERLAND will look to end a successful transfer window by brokering a loan move for Tottenham left-back Danny Rose – who will replace Fulham-bound Kieran Richardson after the former Manchester United man agreed terms with the West London club.
Fresh from securing a double deal for Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher, the Black Cats furthered the feel-good factor on Wearside by agreeing a new three-year contract with Stéphane Sessègnon in a move which will ward off any deadline-day interest in the Benin international.
It was a busy 24 hours for the club which also saw winger Ahmed Elmohamady move to Hull City on a season-long loan, while Richardson edged closer to a move to Martin Jol’s upwardly mobile Fulham – who have offered him the chance to play in his favoured left-midfield slot.
That means the Black Cats must secure a replacement left-back, because O’Neill does not want to rely solely on Jack Colback to fill that position.
The club had made an offer for Croatia left-back Ivan Strinic, but were not able to agree a fee with his Ukrainian club Dnipro, which has pushed them towards a move for England Under-21 defender Rose.
“O‘;’Neill said: “Kieran Richardson is speaking to Fulham and that may go through.
“If that goes through, then naturally we would be looking at someone in that position.
Kieran might have the option of playing further forward for Fulham, which might be his preferred position.
“If he did go, then we would be looking at something and I am pretty confident we would be able to resolve that.
“Jack played exceptionally well there the other evening – he can play in two positions for us – but I still think we would need somebody to fill that slot”
Sunderland’s attempts to strengthen look set to go to the wire and there may also be a midfielder joining before the 11pm deadline.
O’Neill dampened talk of a move for Clint Dempsey, however, despite an admission from Jol that Sunderland had expressed an interest. It is understood that was before they signed Johnson.
Fraizer Campbell’s future is uncertain but he looks unlikely to depart. while Connor Wickham could follow Elmohamady out of the club on a season-long loan to get first-team football.
Overall, O’Neill is happy with the work done in the window – even if he craves greater strength-in-depth.
He said: “I am delighted with the talent we have been able to bring in but I would be the same as every manager – even ones with big teams will be concerned if you lose two or three and look around their squad is not strong enough.
“I think we now have alternatives. We can attack from different areas which is very encouraging and of course you need players to stay fit – but if they do we can cause problems.”
The new deal for Sessègnon is further proof of the club’s determination to underpin O’Neill’s ambitious plans with real financial clout.
He is now tied down to a contract until 2015 and, while there were no firm offers for the forward, O’Neill admits he had been worried that the player may leave.
With him secured as a Sunderland player, he now wants to see the former Paris-Saint Germain star better last season’s eight-goal tally.
O’Neill added: “I think he, for the talent he possesses, he might think his goal ratio is not up there, but he is a quality player and he is hard to mark.
“He had a great period last season.
“Like the rest of us, he maybe tailed off a little bit towards the end when the Premier League status had been achieved and he got a little bit tired.
“However, he’s fresher now and I am delighted he is there and he is really necessary for us.”