With the transfer window really starting to wind down to the final stretch, it isn't just incomings that command the thoughts of Martin O'Neill. The Sunderland manager has confirmed that Kieran Richardson has been harbouring hopes to to leave the club - and has done for some time.
Speaking after the goalless draw with Arsenal that kicked off the Black Cats' season, O'Neill said:
Kieran came to see me a while ago in the last transfer window. For family issues and things, he thought there maybe needed a change.
No-one has come in and made an offer. That, though, does not mean there is nothing happening, I just don't know.
But if he performs like he did against Arsenal, I would like to keep him.
You suspect, however, that it is a headache that O'Neill feels he could probably do without. With money far from limitless and attacking reinforcements required as a matter of absolute urgency, syphoning off some funds to replace an established and valuable member of the existing team is far from ideal.
That said, it certainly appears that the club have had plenty of time to prepare.
Personally, I would be saddened to see Richardson leave, though how much is that simply because he provides a comfort blanket of familiarity I don't know. Whilst he has become a steady performer at left back, he is probably quite easily replaceable in the grand scheme of things.
It must be noted, however, that despite apparently being unsettled and hoping to move away from the club for months, you would never have known it from Richardson's performances which speaks enormously well of his professionalism.