Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat will head into the final few days of the summer transfer window facing an anxious wait over the final shape of his squad.
The 67-year-old Dutchman has repeatedly urged owner Ellis Short to sanction the acquisition of further “quality” signings in the belief that the current crop of players are only strong enough to mount a third successive bid for Barclays Premier League survival.
Short has hit back at suggestions that he has not invested heavily enough to date, claiming the club has already spent £21.5 million this summer, although they have also recouped in the region of £9 million from Crystal Palace for striker Connor Wickham.
However, Press Association Sport understands sporting director Lee Congerton is currently attempting to push through a series of deals which could see both incomings and outgoings before Tuesday’s deadline.
One of the club’s highest earners, Italian international Emanuele Giaccherini, is among the men who could head away from the Stadium of Light, with newly-promoted Serie A side Bologna in ongoing talks.
Giaccherini, a £6.5million capture from Juventus in July 2013, is yet to figure for the Black Cats this season, and only 12 of his 43 appearances for the club to date came last season, as injuries took their toll.
But it is perhaps the arrival of new faces which is most pressing for Advocaat, with Napoli midfielder Jonathan de Guzman a target.
The Holland international appeared to have ruled out a move to Wearside earlier this week, but his agent, Fabian Parisi, has since suggested that he may consider a loan deal without any further commitment.
Sunderland have been linked with an ever-lengthening list of potential targets in recent weeks after a testing start to the season, and Short’s willingness to fund further signings and Congerton’s ability to get them over the line could go a long way towards determining the outlook for the remainder of the campaign.
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Advocaat reconsidered his decision to retire from club management after being promised an influx of quality — although sources on Wearside have insisted reports of a £50 million war chest were inaccurate — but it is clear that his expectations are yet to be met.