Sunderland will try to push through a deal for Salomon Kalou this week, but Gustavo Poyet was relieved the winger he has already signed proved his worth yesterday.
Will Buckley made an impressive full Premier League debut in the Black Cats’ 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
His persistence won the corner Jack Rodwell headed in to cancel out Juan Mata’s against-the-run-of-play opener.
While Poyet refused to confirm a move for former Chelsea player Kalou, his anger at being asked betrayed the reality.
“I’m going to have to do research on this club and who is leaking information every week,” he said when asked about a £4m move for the Lille player.
“It cannot always be the agent or the player.
“There’s too much information coming out and I don’t like it.”
The 29-year-old Ivory Coast international made 156 appearances for Chelsea between 2006 and 2012.
He is now Poyet’s leading target to play on the left wing, with a £14m bid for Fabio Borini looking increasingly doomed despite Liverpool having accepted it in July.
Having missed out in January, Poyet also had to be patient with Buckley.
However, his 79-minute run-out on the right of midfield suggested it had been worth the wait.
“‘Bucker’ I will call him, Will Buckley, I am so pleased he had a good first half because now everybody knows why I was so consistent in asking the club for him,” the Uruguayan commented afterwards.
“It took us seven and a half months to get him and now everybody knows why.
“He’s electric, he’s direct and he brings the stands into a different feeling, but don’t expect it every week.
“Let’s be patient, but he showed why he’s here and it makes me very happy.”
Like Liam Bridcutt in February, Buckley has made an instant impact having learned Poyet’s style of play at Brighton and Hove Albion.
That is why Borini, who played for Sunderland on a season-long loan last term, was so high on Sunderland’s shopping list.
Poyet admitted he had not been instantly won over by the winger at Brighton but that his ability to take on tactical information impressed.
“He was learning, listening,” said Poyet. “He was very quiet, shy, but when he’s on the pitch and he has a chance to attack he’s a nightmare.
“He is confident in the position he played and he knows what we want from him. When it’s clear it’s supposed be easy. He was able to do what he does best.
“Everybody’s happy. When the manager’s happy, the player’s happy, there’s only going to be one outcome, he’s going to perform.”
Sunderland were much the stronger team in the first half and, although Manchester United dominated possession after the break, the Wearsiders still looked more likely to score.
However, Poyet refused to look on the draw as a missed opportunity against a side soon to be reinforced by the British record signing of Angel di Maria.
He added: “If you’d asked on Saturday I would say to you probably yes but I was not expecting to see (Luis Antonio) Valencia, (Robin) van Persie and a few more of the team, so with them I would say to you no, it’s Man United.”
Former Manchester City midfielder Rodwell said his new team had prepared well to face the Red Devils.
He said: “We were aware (of the visitors’ troubles), but we were also aware they needed a win so they were going to come out of the blocks.
“We were ready for that and managed to put on a good performance.”
Two Red Devils penalty appeals in the one move prompted post-match debate but Poyet came to the defence of Ashley Young, who was booked for diving as Wes Brown tried to win the ball.
He insisted: “The only problem with Ashley is his reputation. Before he even went for the ball everyone is expecting for him to jump. With that reputation it’s a problem.
“I don’t think it was a yellow card. I’m not sure if it was a penalty.”
Opposite number Louis van Gaal was critical of his side’s passing, saying: “We lost a lot of balls in situations I don’t expect. When you lose a lot of balls you have to run after the ball to win it back. Then you are not in the match.”