Galatasaray Full-Back Linked With Sunderland
As transfer gossip websites readjust their appraisal of the business that Sunderland might do in January, reports in Turkey have linked Galatasaray right-bac Luis Pedro Cavanda with a move to the Stadium of Light.
Revelations last week - first from Martin Bain and then David Moyes - have dented anticipation around the level at which the club might attempt to reinforce its relegation-threatened squad.
After Bain had stated that business would be 'limited' and Moyes followed his line by foretelling that Sunderland would not even be able to sign a player on loan in their current financial structure, the bargain basement is being emptied of potential targets to fill the rumour pages for a Premier League side who blatantly require some strengthening, no matter how cheaply.
So links with a right-back are curious but intriguing nonetheless. Cavanda is a former Lazio hot prospect who has floundered somewhat since his bright start to life in Serie A. Now 25-years-old, the veteran of two international caps for Belgium has had loan spells at Torino and Bari before moving to Tranzonspur in 2015. After a season there, he moved to Galatasaray for €1.8m in the summer.
And immediately you can see the appeal - he would be cheap. But more than that, Cavanda is pretty versatile and whilst he's predominantly right footed, he can also line up in midfield or at left-back. With Sunderland's current midfield issues added to a lack of viable competition for Patrick van Aanholt, there may be some appeal for David Moyes in the Andorra-born player.
Do Napoli Want Manquillo?
Meanwhile, Napoli are the latest club to be said to be monitoring on-loan full back, Javier Manquillo. The Spaniard has quickly fallen out of favour at the Stadium of Light after failing to impress during the early part of the season.
That is according to Italian newspaper, Il Corriere dello Sport, though there is no suggestion - yet - that any business will be done for Manquillo in January. But, with Diego Simeone said to be keen to realise a transfer fee for the 22-year-old sooner rather than later, having concluded that Manquillo no longer fits into his plans at Atletico Madrid, other Italian clubs - including Lazio, Torino and Sassuolo - have been credited with keeping one eye on the battle for the right-back jersey at Sunderland.
What's Love Got To Do With It?
And that battle currently has three suitors for the position of right fullback. First came that man Manquillo, but bar a few minutes against Leicester and Swansea, the loanee appears to be completely out of favour with David Moyes.
The mediocre showings of the Spaniard then opened the door for a resurgent Billy Jones who burst back into the Sunderland first team at the end of October with some fine performances. That was until the defeat at Swansea last weekend when the 29-year-old appeared to revert back to the player many thought he probably had been all along. Then Jones was withdrawn just before the hour mark with a hip injury mid-week against Chelsea, which rendered him unavailable for Saturday's game with Watford.
The injury to Jones gave summer signing Donald Love a rare first team outing at the weekend - and the 22-year-old was really rather good in victory against the Hornets. The 87 minutes on Saturday was only Love's third Premier League start, but he looked calm and assured and offered plenty going forward with his former Manchester United teammate, Adnan Januzaj, and Fabio Borini interlinking ahead of him.
Indeed, Donald Love may just have done enough to convince David Moyes he deserves to keep his place for the Boxing Day trip to Old Trafford. Though, the Sunderland boss may ponder that Billy Jones' experience would give him the edge in this developing battle for the right-back slot. Either way, competition for the spot - which for some time was a 'problem-position' at Sunderland - is no bad thing.