Sunderland boss David Moyes will not be able to buy his way out of trouble in January despite the club heading towards the festive programme sitting at the foot of the Premier League table.
Chief executive Martin Bain has revealed there will be no repeat of last year’s £15million transfer window rescue mission, when Sam Allardyce brought in Lamine Kone, Jan Kirchhoff and Wahbi Khazri and saw them spark an ultimately successful fightback.
Bain has also admitted a reluctance to sell prized assets Jordan Pickford and Kone, who has a release clause which is understood to amount to around £25million in his new contract, to fund another spree.
He said: “The word I’ve got for you is ‘limited’, I could probably say ‘very limited’ with regards to the January transfer window.
“We are not going to be able to spend to get out of trouble. There will be people who will argue that we did that last year and it worked – I recognise that – but that kind of purchase from the past can lead you to where the club is now.
“That is the loud and clear message: we cannot spend to get out of trouble. In terms of this transfer window in January, we have reached a point where there has to be a time where you don’t have that short-term hit to plug the holes in the dam.”
However, while owner Ellis Short, who has ploughed in excess of £200million into the club, will not sanction further investment, he is not about to walk away from a business which has attracted interest from prospective buyers in recent months, but remains in his hands.
The American businessman remains open to offers – the club is believed to be valued at around £170million – but Bain insists he would only consider a proposal that would benefit the club in the long run.
He said: “If there is a buoyant housing market and someone comes up the garden path saying they are interested in buying your house, you’re going to have a chat with them to see what they are going to say. You’re not going to lead them straight back down the path.
“That is the position at the moment. We would listen to offers. I believe Ellis has the interests of the club at heart and he wouldn’t turn away anything that is beneficial to Sunderland Football Club.
“But at the same time, I’m not saying to you that Ellis Short is disappearing off into the horizon and is completely closing the purse strings. He is not.
“He wants what’s best for Sunderland Football Club. Fundamentally, does he still want us to succeed? Yes, he does. Is he taking money from Sunderland Football Club? No.”
Bain also expressed his support for Moyes, who will send his side into battle with leaders Chelsea at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday evening.
He said: “From this football club’s perspective and where it’s at in terms of the need for rebuilding and the need to instil optimism and get back to basics by focusing on the football, then David is absolutely the right choice for this football club.”
Moyes goes into the game with several injury doubts – although he declined to identify them – on a night when his defence will have to tame in-form striker Diego Costa.
The manager said: “He has become a bit of an old-fashioned centre-forward. He always had that, but I think he has now become one of the old types in this country.
“He can score technically, can out-run you and probably out-jump you as well.”