Sunderland are hoping to finalise a deal for exciting striker Ignacio Scocco in the next 48 hours – and will open contract talks with Phil Bardsley after the end of the January transfer window.
The Black Cats are making concerted efforts to reinvigorate their attacking options ahead of Friday’s late deadline and reports in Argentina suggested they have signed Scocco, whom they hope will jet over to Wearside after positive talks with his current club Internacional.
Sunderland are also hoping to land Brighton midfielder Liam Bridcutt before the January 31 deadline – and may sell the recalled Connor Wickham to finance the deals.
There is interest from Nottingham Forest in the striker but he has also been offered to the Seagulls as part exchange for Bridcutt, who is keen to move to the North East. Privately the club is braced for a busy few days and may yet allow Lee Cattermole to depart to Stoke and Steven Fletcher to Celtic – provided the price is right on both deals and Poyet’s preferred replacements can be sought.
Sunderland have made an ambitious attempt to sign Argentina international Ever Banega on loan, which is illustrative of the kind of business that Poyet wants to do in the next few days. The Black Cats manager wants to avoid a repeat of the mistakes made in January’s gone by, when Sunderland signed players to beef up their squad but rarely played them. He has pledged to Ellis Short that any arrivals will be with an eye on breaking into the first team.
And as the Black Cats look to add new players, they are also looking to tie up two of their current crop. Asked whether the club have started talks with Bardsley, Poyet said: “No, we haven’t. I think we’ll try. He knows that we’re going to start talking.”
Poyet rates Bardsley’s transformation as the ‘story of the season’ so far, adding: “His story is incredible. We say to him every now and again ‘You were in the other side, over there (training with the kids)’ and now he’s scoring against Manchester United and being desperate to take a penalty, he’s celebrating and he’s the one who got the most emotional.
“It has been hard for him. He had a contract here and he was earning his money but you want to be part of things, you want to be on the pitch.
“How much would some millionaires pay to be out on the pitch playing, scoring the winning penalty? They cannot do it because they are not good enough but I’m just saying. The players are so lucky to be part of of Wednesday and they need to realise it. Like any other human beings, they feel it. It was great for him.”
Poyet also confirmed The Journal’s report on Friday which detailed a fresh round of negotiations with midfielder Jack Colback. He hinted that the player may be waiting to see if the club stay in the top flight.
“We started negotiations a few weeks ago now,” he revealed. “The situation with the negotiations has changed a little bit, because there’s another person in charge now (that Roberto De Fanti has departed).
“Let’s hope. It’s important not to be too aggressive in terms of the contract because of the position we’re in, and of course you need to be realistic. They’ll say ‘Let’s wait, let’s see where we finish’. It works both ways.”
:: Sunderland's away game at Liverpool has been switched to Monday, March 10 – depending on the Black Cats’ fortunes in the FA Cup. The home game with West Ham has also moved, to Monday, March 31.