Gus Poyet frustrated by difficulty in signing British-based players

Sunderland close in on defender Santiago Vergini as Cabral leaves to join Genoa on loan

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet

Gus Poyet has expressed his frustration at the increasing difficulty in signing British-based players.

The Sunderland head coach is keen to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window, preferably with players already boasting experience of having played in England.

However, though he refuses to blame footballers for pursuing the highest wages available, whether playing regularly or not, he fears the Black Cats’ inability to match those sums – and the inflated fees English clubs are asking for even fringe players – means the club may be forced to remain committed to attracting overseas stars.

Estudiantes’ Argentinian defender Santiago Vergini looks imminently likely to be Poyet’s second signing since the window opened, following the arrival of Spanish left-back Marcos Alonso.

With Keiren Westwood still sidelined by injury, the Sunderland boss admitted he is considering the club’s goalkeeping situation, with Catania’s Mariano Andujar on the radar.

Internacional forward Ignacio Scocco, another Argentinian, is also an “option”.

Poyet also confirmed midfielder Cabral is to join Genoa on loan until the end of the season, with an option of a permanent move and, echoing comments from Hull boss Steve Bruce yesterday, played down outside interest in Steven Fletcher.

Yet while guarded about the possibility his acrimonious departure from Brighton and Hove Albion last summer has left the Championship outfit reluctant to part with Black Cats target Liam Bridcutt, Poyet did expand on the frustrating obstacles barring the way to signing players from rival English clubs.

He said: “It’s not about Bridcutt, it’s about getting the right player for us, whoever you are, wherever you come from.

“It doesn’t make any difference with any club and we try to be balanced.

“So far players who’ve been in England, or British-based players, even if they are foreign, it is difficult to get them.

“We had a problem in the summer to buy in England, it’s not easy in England, it’s very difficult.

“Sometimes there are English players and they’re on the bench at teams and not playing and they should be playing in another team – but because we cannot pay them enough there’s no chance of them coming.

“It’s not because there are too many foreigners in England, it is because there are not enough British players at the top teams.

“It works both ways and I can’t blame one way or another and I wouldn’t blame people if they just bought foreigners, it’s the system that’s wrong.”

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League trip to Fulham, Poyet added: “There are players who deserve to be playing more, but for different reasons they can’t play. Some are desperate to play and want to leave but how are they going to get paid?

“There are teams who want too much money, there are teams who have no limit on what they pay, there are clubs with more money and big squads and it’s impossible to get those players.

“I wanted to play when I was a player but it is down to the player’s character, the future they have and what they want.

“It’s like in any other industry. If you go to Formula One and a driver changes teams it’s because they pay more, they don’t move to earn less.

“Yet nobody talks about them, it’s always about footballers.

“I’ve never seen anyone in any job receive an offer and say ‘I don’t accept that, I want less!’”

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