Sam Allardyce is desperate to add goals to his Sunderland squad but admits it is a difficult transfer window as he looks to balance the books.
Allardyce has already added back-up keeper Steve Harper, defenders Lamine Kone and Jan Kirchhoff and striker Dame N’Doye to his squad this month, but his main priority as the deadline fast approaches will be in attack.
The Black Cats have been heavily linked with Swansea City forward Andre Ayew but are likely to concentrate their search for reinforcements on the continent as the manager looks to get the right support for leading scorer Jermain Defoe.
Allardyce said: “Goals, I am looking for, whatever position. If he’s got a decent goals record of one in three or one in four, I’d be interested. As long as outside the box, he does the right things as well, of course, but goals and quality in the final third.
“We get in the final third as much as anybody, we produce more opportunities in the final third, but I think our final-third quality hasn’t been as good as it should be and I have got to try to get that better, particularly for Jermain Defoe, who if we can supply more service to, will score more goals and try to help us win more games.”
Both Sunderland and Swansea have insisted there is no formal offer on the table – reports have suggested a £10million bid plus striker Fabio Borini – for Ayew, and although it is understood that he is a target for the Wearside club, Allardyce was giving nothing away on Thursday.
He said: “No, there’s been no contact between us and Swansea for us to make an offer. We haven’t made an offer to Swansea for that. I’m not certain that Swansea would want to sell him, so that’s a little bit of speculation on the media’s behalf.”
Asked if there were other options, the 61-year-old, who also confirmed the club has registered its interest in Arsenal full-back Mathieu Debuchy, replied: “Yes, most of them abroad, as always.
“Obviously, there are not many available in this country and the size of the fees are much, much greater, so in terms of what we are looking at, it would be from Europe, I would think.”
Wednesday night’s capture of Lorient defender Kone at the third time of asking prompted the exit of Sebastian Coates, who has travelled to Portugal with a view to tying up a move to Sporting Lisbon with Sunderland attempting to balance the books.
Asked if this is as tough a transfer window as he has endured, Allardyce said: “Yes, the worst because for the first time, you are balancing finance, the financial balances in the new regulations.”
Meanwhile, the Black Cats boss played down Wednesday’s 6-0 behind-closed-doors friendly victory over neighbours Newcastle United.
He said: “The result is immaterial, it was just a very friendly behind-closed-doors game to give both sets of players who haven’t played that much a run-out.
“We are grateful for [Magpies head coach] Steve [McClaren] coming over because having a quality game like that is very difficult to get on the cards where we are positioned geographically. A game of that quality is what we were both looking for and it gives the lads a bit of match practice.”