Deadline day looms, and despite a flurry of early arrivals this summer, Sunderland look as likely as anyone to be busy.
Why Has It Come To This?
This is a question I suspect many are asking themselves. 'Why of why have we left ourselves at the mercy of a deadline day scramble when we have known what has needed to be done for months?!' etc. Judging by Paolo Di Canio's comments this weekend, it appears he is one of them.
It is certainly frustrating. However, it is simply a facet of modern football that the longer you hold your nerve the better value and deals you can find. Players who weren't available at all 2 months ago are suddenly players clubs are desperate to move on to help push through their own business.
A risky game of brinksmanship, admittedly, but one with a potential for high rewards.
What Comes In
Left Back: Apparently, these exist. Sunderland have been trying to sign one all summer and in fairness not having one right now is more down to bad fortune than bad planning.
Benjamin Mendy was prised away at the last moment by his dream move to Marseille, Lucas Orban agreed to join and then changed the goal posts by asking for more money, and others have been deemed unable to provide anything like value.
Manchester United's Alexander Buttner has been suggested as a loan target but any deal there would likely hinge upon the champions' pursuit of Leighton Baines. Even then, it is worth noting that following the arrival of Ki Sung-yeung, Sunderland can only take one more domestic loan.
One to watch could be Faouzi Ghoulam. The 22-year-old Algerian international is keen to be leave Saint-Étienne and has just turned down a move to Torino.
Striker: Di Canio has stressed his happiness with this area of his squad all summer, but that was before Stephane Sessegnon's head turned to the Middle East, his hefty breach of discipline, and Ji Dong-won's pretty cowardly performances so far.
Fabio Borini's name has cropped up, and as a loan target he could well fit the profile. He is young, has experience of the British game, and established himself in Italy where he forged a fine reputation for himself at Roma. With Liverpool intent on doing plenty of business themselves, the link could well hold water.
The name of Moussa Sow has also been mentioned in Turkey. Fenerbache are reeling from their Champions League exit and Europa League expulsion, so could well move on the talented Senegal international. Sunderland are said to be interested, but so are plenty others. Newcastle and Stoke have been just as strongly linked and you wonder if such an expensive signing with be sanctioned with Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore seemingly earmarked for a partnership.
Central Midfield: Despite the arrival of Ki, central midfield remains an area that can be significantly improved. Good teams tend to start with a quality central midfield and build around it.
There could still be a future for Lee Cattermole and should a left back sign, Jack Colback will come back into contention for the position, but it still looks weak.
This one may well depend on who can be moved out, but should an Antonio Nocherino or Zdravko Kuzmanović become available for a last minute move, it could make a huge difference to Sunderland's lagging season.
What Goes Out
Stephane Sessegnon: Given his wages and the new Financial Fair Play restrictions, moving out the Beninian magician may hold the key to unlocking the whole day in terms of creating room for arrivals. It is worth noting, however, that the transfer window in Qatar closes later than the one in Europe, so even if he is here at the end of the day it doesn't necessarily mean he is staying.
David Vaughan: It was reported that Vaughan told journalists at Selhurst Park that a move is 'very much a possibility' and he does look vulnerable. He has one year left on his contract and just doesn't seem equipped to contribute anything to Paolo Di Canio's favoured system.
Craig Gardner: The Brummie missed the game this weekend with a groin injury, but you can't rule anything out at this stage. It is possible there is a move in the works that no one wanted to put at risk by injury. Like Vaughan, he has one year left on his contract and has been repeatedly linked with a move closer to the Midlands.
Lee Cattermole: It has been no secret that Cattermole's wage is considered well out of whack with his contribution and value, so a move is far from beyond the realms of possibility. However, you struggle to see much interest for him out there and he probably looks unlikely to leave at this point.
Phil Bardsley: I don't think we are that lucky. The little leech will almost certainly still be sucking a living from the clubs vains come Tuesday.
Ji Dong-won: Di Canio has publicly defended the Korean and is a big fan of his ability. Unfortunately, ability isn't worth a thing if he can't find some courage and heart from somewhere. The unusual nature of his substitution at Palace - noted by Sky Sports - could allude to a falling out which prompts a move to Germany.